Eight years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States decided a prominent DWI case that had repercussions on DWI laws across the country, including Minnesota. That case was Missouri v. McNeely. That case determined that a nonconsensual warrantless blood test violates a person’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. In its wake, the McNeely decision prompted furious litigation across the country challenging all manner of testing in DWI cases whether breath, blood, or urine.

In Minnesota, one such legal challenge was whether refusing to submit to a warrantless blood or urine test violated a person’s constitutional rights. In Johnson v. Minnesota, the defense took the fight one step further and argued that it should apply retroactively to a case that initiated in 2009. The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed that it should apply retroactively, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed and stated it is only procedural and does not apply retroactively to test-refusal convictions on collateral review.

There was no shortage of attacks on DWI cases in the wake of Missouri v. McNeely. In 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided State v. Trahan. The driver was charged with DWI refusal for refusing to submit to a blood test. The Minnesota Supreme Court decided that a driver cannot be prosecuted for refusing to submit to an unconstitutional warrantless blood test.

In 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided State v. Thompson. This case is almost identical to Trahan except it involved a driver charged with DWI refusal for refusing to submit to a urine test. Similar to Trahan, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that without a warrant, charging a driver with test refusal of a urine test violates a fundamental right and is unconstitutional as applied to the driver.

In the wake of these cases, Minnesota DWI refusal laws changed. The legislature kept in place refusing to submit to a breath test as a crime. But, added a refusal to submit to a blood or urine test as required by a search warrant as a DWI refusal crime. This requires officers to obtain a warrant for a blood or urine test, if that is the method of testing they wish to administer, in a DWI case. If the driver objects to the blood or urine test, then the officer needs to offer an alternative or have an exception to the warrant requirement.

Johnson v. Minnesota addressed the attempt to go back in time to overturn prior DWI refusal convictions that involved a blood or urine test and did not include a warrant. The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision determined that McNeely was procedural and does not apply retroactively to convictions. Unfortunately, this puts a damper on what drivers can do who were convicted prior to McNeely, Trahan, Thompson, Birchfield, et. al. But, it does not stop the potential plethora of available legal challenges of blood and urine testing in DWIs.

Robert H. Ambrose is a criminal defense lawyer and DWI attorney in Minnesota. Super Lawyers named him a Rising Star for the past six years; and the National Trial Lawyer’s Organization named him a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer the past seven years. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. DWI Attorney Woodbury MN; Criminal Defense Attorney Woodbury MN; and DUI Lawyer Minnesota.

A proffer is technically a written agreement. It is an agreement between a Prosecutor and a Defendant, or witness, in which information about a crime is exchanged for the promise that their information and words will not be used against them in a later Court Hearing. After entering into a Proffer (the Agreement) a meeting with the Prosecutor and often the investigator is conducted. This is an exploration of what the Defendant or witness can provide the Prosecutor and investigator about their investigation. If the Prosecutor believes the statements and information truthful and helpful, then the Prosecutor often will enter into an immunity or plea agreement. This information and statements are what is protected under the Proffer and typically cannot be used at a trial or hearing against the Defendant or witness. This is why a Proffer is sometimes called “Queen/King for a Day Immunity” because it protects the Defendant or witness from having their words or information provided at the Proffer meeting from being used against them at a future hearing. Often, a formal written proffer agreement will not contain any express promises, rather your attorney and Prosecutor will have informally worked out an agreement outlining what the Defendant or witness is likely to provide and what the Prosecutor will likely exchange for that information. Rarely does a Proffer letter fully exonerate somebody from Prosecution. Therefore, it is very important to have a Defense Attorney review the Proffer so that the Defendant or Potential Witness will know exactly how it will affect their case.

Why do Proffers exist?

They occur because in white collar crimes there are often multiple actors. Generally, there is a leader or leaders running the fraud and a lower ring of people facilitating the crime. Often one person does not complete all the elements of a crime as different people work in tandem to make up all of the elements of the crime. At other times, the leader or leaders in charge are managing the lower-level players often in a manner that keeps the leaders free from committing any crimes. Therefore, investigators often catch and put together cases around these lower-level players but can have trouble connecting the dots surrounding the whole picture. For example, in Medicaid fraud cases it is common that the owner of the company will direct his employees to engage in fraudulent activity. Sometimes this activity is known to be fraudulent to the employees and sometimes they are oblivious. In this scenario the employee carrying out their employer’s orders was the one actually carrying out the crime, while the owner’s hands remain clean. Prosecutors need to establish intent and knowledge on behalf of the owner who is financially benefitting from the fraud. As a result, Prosecutors enter into these Proffers with the employees to put together a case against the owner.

Are there any risks with participating in a Proffer?

The Proffer Agreement only prevents the Prosecutor from using your own statements against you in their Case-in-Chief. It does not prevent them from using your information to conduct further investigations and gather independent evidence against you. Additionally, statements made during a proffer can be used for impeachment or to show that you are being untruthful at future Court appearances. Proffers can carry a high risk without much benefit which is why it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who not only understands these agreements but one that can help protect you throughout this process and ensure you receive the best outcome possible.

The Hennepin County Attorney recently announced a list of nineteen non-violent felony crimes that prosecutors will no longer request bail for after an arrest. Bail is a financial obligation that works by releasing a defendant in exchange for money. The court then holds that money until all of the proceedings surrounding the suspect are completed. Once the case is resolved, the suspect receives the money back if they paid it on their own. Now, if a suspect is charged with any of the following crimes, they will remain free until the next court hearing. Instead of bail, suspects will make a promise to the court to appear at all court hearings and follow any release conditions that may be set by the judge. These conditions may include not consuming alcohol or using firearms.

Starting January 1, 2021, Hennepin County stated it will no longer request bail for the following offenses:
• Counterfeiting currency;
• Damage to property;
• Dishonored check;
Fifth-degree sale or possession of narcotics;
• Forgery;
• Fourth-degree sale or possession of narcotics;
• Fraudulent identification or driver’s license
Identity theft;
• Insurance fraud;
• Lottery fraud;
• Mail theft;
• Possession of burglary/theft tools;
• Possession of shoplifting gear;
• Possession of counterfeit check;
• Sales of simulated controlled substances;
• Theft of a motor vehicle;
• Theft under $35,000;
• Wrongfully obtaining public assistance; and
• Wrongfully obtaining unemployment benefits.

The goal of the reform is to protect public safety and ensure court appearances. The goal is not to simply punish people. Often times people lose their jobs when they cannot meet bail and are required to wait in jail until their court hearings. In turn, this makes their financial situation even worse. This essentially led to a situation where those who could afford cash bail were able to buy their freedom, while those who could not afford cash bail were forced to sit in jail.

With the reform, prosecutors will not be requesting bail on cases where the law calls for judges to release the suspect anyway. This will also reduce the prison population which will improve prison conditions. One of the goals of the reform is to help with reduce racial disparities in jail. According to the Hennepin County Attorney, African American suspects make up 57% of those charged with the nineteen offenses last year. Instead of sending the suspects to jail, Hennepin County will now be able to employ other options such as GPS tracking, mental health support, chemical dependency, etc., to ensure that suspects will appear at their court hearings.

Bail may still be required for “exceptional cases.” Those cases may include a suspect who has outstanding charges or a history of not showing up to court. Although we are not sure if this new reform is one that is here to stay, it is a small step in the right direction for dismantling cash bail in Minnesota. For more information contact the Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyers at Ambrose Law Firm.

Erin Powers is a Law Clerk at Ambrose Law Firm, PLLC in Minneapolis, MN. Erin is a second-year law student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Before law school, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota. Erin also volunteered for the Center for Integrity in Forensic Science. Criminal Defense Lawyers Minneapolis MN; Criminal Attorneys Minnesota; and Drug Crimes Attorney MN.

When a criminal defense attorney is called, the person on the other end of the phone is often times in a place of vulnerability and needs someone to be in their corner. Defense attorneys are able to act as that person Erin Powers - Headshotwho is on their side and can make a huge difference in this person’s life. Defense attorneys are able to form relationships with their clients, unveiling the good in each and every one of those in need of legal service. I believe that by having the ability to form these personal connections, criminal defense attorneys are able to see past their actions and are able to impact their client’s lives.

Similar to most aspiring attorneys, the reason I wanted to become a lawyer was to help people. I have always wanted to provide competent legal service to those who are in need because that is what the Constitution calls for. I knew I wanted to go to law school before I started undergrad, but I never knew exactly what area I wanted to go into. When I started law school and took Criminal and Constitutional Law, I became very interested in criminal defense work.

In addition to wanting to help those who are in a vulnerable place, my interest for criminal defense work was sparked when I learned more about the Constitution, and Constitutional Law. I was a Constitutional History major in undergrad and was always interested in this area. When I took Constitutional Law, I began to learn more about individual rights. I read a lot about cases where the person who was accused was wrongfully convicted of the crime. Wrongful Conviction cases became my number one interest.

After taking Constitutional and Criminal Law, I wanted to start exploring my options in criminal defense. Although there are many ways to learn about this area, I knew I wanted to work in a firm. Working for criminal defense firms allows you the opportunity to see cases up close, and work on multiple cases at a time with the different attorneys. In addition, I have always been interested in Expungements and wanted to find a firm where I could work on these cases and see them in court.

The courtroom has always been the scariest part of being a lawyer to me so I wanted to become more comfortable with the judicial process and being in front of the Judge. As a clerk, I have been given opportunities to see the courtroom process, as well as the process leading up to the courtroom. These courtroom experiences have helped me make sense of the procedural aspect of the law and understand the law as to how it is to be applied. These experiences combined with learning from Attorney Ambrose, Attorney Kujawa, and Attorney Koll has deepened my passion for criminal law, and I am excited to continue to learn and explore this area.

When I started law school, I did not know what type of law I wanted to practice. During my first year of law school, we practiced appearing in front of judges and arguing like we were in Court. From that experience, I knew I wanted to do that type of work, I wanted to be in front of a judge arguing and helping people. After my first year of law school, I started working for the public defender’s office in Washington County. This is where I got to see what the criminal justice system was really like and sent me on my path to being a criminal defense attorney.Ben Koll-MN Criminal Defense Attorney Image

While working at the public defender’s office I saw people at the lowest points of their lives. People who had made mistakes, people who were not getting a fair chance, and people who were facing criminal charges that should not be. The one thing all those people had in common was they were looking for help and I got to provide that. I have always enjoyed helping people whether it was teammates in sports, classmates in school, or my younger sisters. Criminal defense work for me is another way I get to help people. Specifically, help people get back on their feet and on a positive forward-looking path. Sometimes this means helping people who made a bad decision and trying to make sure the consequences do not ruin their lives. Other times it is helping people who did nothing wrong and should not have to face criminal charges at all. That last situation is probably the biggest reason I am a criminal defense attorney; the ability to make change and ensure the criminal system is fair for everyone.

Anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But if you ask people charged with a crime, they likely will tell you that is not how it feels. A criminal defense attorney gets to bring the criminal justice system back to the way it is supposed to be. We get to hold the other side of the case accountable for their actions whether it is a prosecutor, police officer, or an accuser. Just as there are laws people are not supposed to break, there are rules prosecutors and police Officers are supposed to follow. The biggest of these rules are the protections embedded within the Constitution. Every lawyer takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and I think many lawyers lose sight of that. But as a criminal defense attorney I get a chance to uphold the Constitution everyday and ensure that every person gets the same protections. Everyone learns about the Constitution at some point but not everyone gets to learn the ins-and-outs of it like lawyers do, and I take joy in ensuring that everyone receives those protections.

I get to help people who potentially had their Constitutional protections violated, often by someone who was educated in the Constitution. I get to make sure that everyone who is charged with a crime gets a fair chance at having their story heard. I get the opportunity to help people that were failed by the state and defend them against people who refuse to look beyond the charging paperwork. I get the opportunity to help people facing some of the toughest situations of their lives and ensure that they are treated fairly. I get to ensure that the system of Justice we have created is done correctly.

Innocence is the starting point for any case, not guilt.

Adam Kujawa-MN Criminal Defense AttorneyI am a criminal defense attorney because Defendants are not numbers, they are human beings. They are community members, family, and friends and they deserve a voice. They are often frightened, confused, and nervous and they deserve comfort, support, and zealous advocacy. A person is neither defined at their lowest point, nor by the crime someone accuses them of committing. We are all better than that. We all deserve to be treated as our best.

Although I decided to become a criminal defense attorney when I was 16 years old, it took me 25 years to become that person. When I was a juvenile, I had the misfortune of finding my way into the justice system. Although my trouble was minor, I was afraid. I had never been in this situation and neither had my parents. My attorney answered our questions, provided support, and, most important, fought for me. I walked away from that experience wanting to help others caught in the justice system, like my attorney did for me.

While in law school, I had the opportunity to work as a certified student attorney with a county prosecutor’s office. I remember how in my interview I talked about wanting to protect public safety while upholding the constitutional rights of defendants. After law school, I landed a job prosecuting at the State level. As a prosecutor, it is easy to get caught up in group think. You feel good about your role in “protecting public safety.” Doing your job effectively often means dehumanizing defendants by viewing them as the crime they are accused of rather than the person they are, and their rights can get lost in the shuffle. Having a view of “justice” that differs from your colleagues is difficult and your discretion to do the right thing is never boundless. Your boss is an elected official and the public, driven by newspaper headlines and sensationalized local news, has a hard time sympathizing with “criminals.”

Please understand that I am not saying prosecutors are bad people. I have many friends who are prosecutors, and they are good people with strong morals. But my moral compass steered me in a different direction – back to the lawyer I dreamed to be as a 16-year-old kid. People sometimes ask how morally I can defend “criminals.” My answer is always the same, it’s easier to stand up for the rights our Constitution affords ALL individuals, than throw a human being behind bars for someone else’s version of “justice.”

My career experiences have given me many opportunities. I have had the fortune of many wins (and losses). I have appeared in over 60 of the 87 Minnesota county courts, argue cases in front of over a hundred judges, and argue numerous cases at the court of appeals. I even had the opportunity to appear in front of the same judge I appeared in front of as a juvenile defendant and to argue against the attorney that stood by my side and argued for me as a kid. I have been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and “Top 10, Under 40” by the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. But I am proud to be an attorney, not because of these accomplishments, but because there is no better feeling and no better success than standing tall beside someone and fight for them. I get the fortune of seeing my clients as human beings. I hope 16-year-old Adam would be proud.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Absent a warrant, or an exception to the warrant requirement, law enforcement is not allowed to enter your home. There are also areas immediately surrounding your home, known as curtilage, that enjoy the same constitutional protections as your house.

Courts often look at the Dunn factors when determining what constitutes curtilage: (1) proximity to the home; (2) how is the area being used; (3) is the area surrounded by an enclosure; and (4) what steps are taken to exclude others from the area. Generally, curtilage will include areas around the house where the activities of being at home extend. This can include areas such as a detached garage, front or back porch, and driveway in certain circumstances.

These Fourth Amendment protections are not absolute, however. The general public, and law enforcement, can go onto a person’s property. Solicitors stop by. Kids selling things for their schools or extra-curricular activities. Canvassers for political campaigns. A neighbor to tell you about a neighborhood meeting. These people are all using what is called an implied license. This implied license allows people to approach and knock at the front door of a house. A totally reasonable thing to do.

The implied license is limited in time and purpose according to social norms. Florida v. Jardines, a United States Supreme Court case, reasoned that “[c]omplying with the terms of that traditional invitation does not require fine-grained legal knowledge; it is generally managed without incident by the Nation’s Girl Scouts and trick-or-treaters.” An implied license does not extend to all hours. If there is an emergency, then it is a different story. If the homeowner routinely accepts visitors at all hours, and there is evidence of that, then it is a different story.

Florida v. Jardines involved a drug-sniffing dog on a front porch. It was not a simple approach to the homeowner’s front door. The cops do not need typically need a warrant for that. The implied license is not unlimited in scope. Officers cannot enter a constitutionally protected area without a customary invitation to conduct a search. In Jardines, the officers’ entry onto the curtilage of the home was not explicitly or implicitly invited.

Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals addressed implied licenses in LaClair v. Commissioner of Public Safety. In this case, our firm successfully obtained a reversal from the court of appeals when the police officer exceeded the scope of an implied license. The cop patrolled a neighborhood and saw a car parked in a driveway with its headlights on. An hour later, the same officer drove by and saw the headlights still on. He parked at the end of the driveway, activated his squad’s spotlight and approached the home. He walked up the driveway and noticed a puddle, which he thought was urine near the vehicle. He went to the passenger side and saw a person in the driver’s seat slumped over the center console. He then opened the driver’s door without knocking or announcing.

In LaClair, the district court judge reasoned that the driveway is a place an ordinary visitor would be expected to go. The court of appeals did not agree. The court of appeals reasoned that the district court did not consider time the officer entered the driveway for a non-emergency situation, which was at one in the morning. The court of appeals decided these were not circumstances where a person would approach a home in the middle of the night; and reversed the driver’s license revocation stemming from the DWI arrest.

This depends on why they were taken away. For a Minnesota Felony Conviction, you can restore your gun rights in two ways. One is by receiving a pardon or by Court Order. Pardons require a person to have a clean record for 5 or 10 years (depending on the charge) and a person must apply to the Pardon Board. However, crimes of violence especially those involving firearms are very rarely granted. Second is by a request for Judicial Restoration or Court Order. This has less requirements than a Pardon, because it only requires that the person has been released from physical confinement and that they can make a showing of good cause to have their gun rights returned. This often involves a petition, a hearing, statements from the person requesting restoration, and potentially statements form other community members.

If you have a misdemeanor conviction that Federally restricts you from possessing firearms a Court Order in Minnesota will not help as Minnesota does not consider you ineligible. But there are a few potential other options to restore your gun rights when you are considered ineligible under Federal Law. Typically, this is done by trying to change the underlying misdemeanor conviction or having that conviction set aside.

How can I lose my Civil Rights, including my Firearm/Gun Rights, in Minnesota?

A person can lose certain civil rights by Judicial Order or by conviction for a felony in Minnesota. Often times a Judge will place restrictions on people as part of their sentence, for example a condition of probation on a domestic case may be that you are not allowed to possess, own, carry, or use firearms. A probationary condition like this is removed once you have successfully completed probation and been discharge. The other way a person can lose their civil rights, including voting rights and gun rights, is when they have been convicted of a felony. In Minnesota, a person who is convicted of a Felony automatically has their civil rights restored upon discharge of their sentence (by Court Order or expiration of their Sentence). However, if you have been convicted of a Crime of Violence you have a lifetime ban on shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving firearms unless you restore your civil rights.

What is a crime of violence?

A Crime of Violence is always a felony conviction but it only applies to certain offenses. Examples of those offenses are: Murder, Assault, Robbery, Kidnapping, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Arson, Harassment, and Controlled Substance (Drug) Offenses. Additionally, people who have pled to one of these types of offenses under a Stay of Imposition, meaning after probation it is considered a misdemeanor, will still be ineligible even though the conviction does not appear to be a Felony.

I am not a Felon, but I still cannot get a firearm. Why is that?

Often, if a person has a misdemeanor conviction for a crime of violence, then it is possible their firearm rights were taken under Federal Law. Federal Law states that a person is ineligible to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms if they have been convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence. A Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence must be a conviction for an offense where physical force, attempted use of physical force, or threatened use of a deadly weapon was used against a current or former spouse or partner, guardian, parent of a child in common, or someone who lives in the same household. This includes misdemeanor assault, domestic assault, and even disorderly conduct conviction.

 

Upon arrest for a DWI, the worry is not only about what might happen in the criminal case, but also about how long you will lose your driver’s license for a DWI in Minnesota. The main factors influencing the length are whether you took a breath, blood, or urine test, the alcohol level of that test, and how many prior DWI offenses you have on your record.

As a default, you can look at the Notice and Order of Revocation, which is what the Minnesota Department of Public Safety enters as the length of time your license is revoked. If you want to double-check that number or ensure its accuracy, the following principles apply.

First Offense

A first-time DWI with an alcohol concentration of .15 or lower, will be subject to a 90-day revocation period in Minnesota. The same length of time applies for first-time controlled substance and hazardous substance DUIs. If those drivers later plead guilty to a Fourth Degree DWI offense, then there will be an administrative reduction to 30 days for the license revocation. In either event, the person is eligible to drive on a limited license after 15 days of the revocation period accrue.

If your alcohol concentration is .16 or more, then a first-time DWI will have a driver’s license revocation period of 1 year. In this scenario, the driver is not able to obtain a limited license, but can partake in Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Program. There is no waiting period to become a participant in ignition interlock, you just have to fulfill all the requirements as quickly as you can to get up and running on the device.

If you refuse to submit to an evidentiary breath, blood, or urine test, then you will receive a revocation of 1 year. You will also be eligible to drive on a limited license after 15 days of the revocation period pass. Further, if you later plead guilty to a Third Degree DWI Refusal or Fourth Degree DWI, then you will receive an administrative reduction for your license revocation period if you have no prior DUIs or implied consent revocations in your lifetime.

Second Offense

A second-DWI offense within a ten-year period will result in a license revocation of 1 year, if the person’s alcohol concentration was under .16 for their present offense. If the driver tested .16 or more or refused the test, then the revocation period is 2 years. In all of these scenarios, the person is eligible to get on the ignition interlock device for this time period. 

Third Offense

A third offense within a ten-year period will result in a cancellation of the person’s driver’s license for 3 years. Regardless of the person’s alcohol concentration level or whether they refused a test, the cancellation period of 3 years applies. A difference between a cancellation period and a revocation period is that a cancellation the requirement for a person to get their regular driver’s license back is that they have to become a participant in Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Program. And, the 3-year cancellation period does not begin to accrue until the driver is on that program. For a revocation period, a driver can just decide not to drive for the length of the revocation period and apply for their regular driver’s license thereafter.

Fourth Offense or More

A person’s fourth DWI or more will also result in a cancellation. This time for 6 years. The same mandatory ignition interlock restrictions apply, except the limited license stays in effect for the first 3 years.

In any scenario, a driver has a right to challenge their driver’s license revocation or cancellation through the implied consent process. To read more about that, Click Here to Read More

Importantly, if you are under twenty-one years old at the time of the DUI, then the revocation periods will double in time. Additionally, the laws on revocation periods in Minnesota can change through the legislative process. In the past decade, this occurred multiple times. If there is a question about whether the law has changed in this regard, please contact us for the most up-to-date information.

A PSI, or presentence investigation, occurs after a conviction and before sentencing. In virtually all felony cases, a PSI will take place before the judge pronounces the sentence. In domestic abuse cases, regardless of the level of offense, a domestic abuse PSI will generally occur before sentencing. In some counties, the court will require a PSI for misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor DWIs – however, that is not the norm statewide.

What Happens During a PSI?

A PSI is an interview with a probation officer. That probation officer will want to get information about your background, including criminal history, employment, addresses, etc. They will also want to discuss the incident with you. They usually ask you to write out your recollection of the events leading up to and including the incident that resulted in the charges in your case. They will also want to talk about the incident either in person or over the phone. For those that plead guilty to the offense, some sense or remorse or taking responsibility during this part of the process is generally not a bad idea.

If alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident, the probation officer will also want to gauge your past and current level of chemical dependency. This can be as simple as asking you how often you drink or use drugs, what you use, why you use, and how much you have used in the past. The probation officer will also ask for collateral contacts, usually at least two people, that know you well. They will then want to contact those people to try and verify the information you provided.  They will then use this data, along with their own observations and research, to determine what level of chemical dependency programming to recommend.

In domestic abuse cases, the PSI will include past and current issues surrounding anger management and abuse. As with chemical dependency, some level of programming may be recommended by the probation officer to address those potential issues. Additionally, the victim in the case will be contacted to address whether they want to provide an impact statement to the court either in writing, or in person, for sentencing. The victim will also provide input about whether they desire a probationary DANCO (domestic abuse no contact order). Further, victims can provide input about whether they request any restitution, which would cover out-of-pocket expenses for such things as medical bills or property damage.

What Happens After a PSI?

Prior to the sentencing hearing, the probation officer will file with the court the PSI report. The prosecutor, judge, and defense attorney should all get a copy of it. Sometimes, it does not get filed until the day before, or day of, the sentencing hearing. In some counties, the court requires judge approval to share the PSI report with the defendant.

One of the most important parts of the report is the recommendations from the probation officer. When there is not an agreement on jail or prison time, this recommendation can carry significant weight as to what the judge may impose. The report will also recommend how long probation should be and the probationary conditions requested, such as whether they believe a no use of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs condition should be imposed and treatment recommendations. Regardless of what the recommendations of the PSI are, your attorney, and you, will be able to make arguments to the judge to ask what you think the sentence should be.

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