What is a presentencing investigation and interview in Las Vegas?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nevada defendants convicted of felonies get PSIs. This is short for presentence investigation. PSIs are required for certain defendants to get probation instead of prison. 

The Nevada Division of Parole and Probation (NPP) conducts PSIs. The NPP then composes PSI reports with sentencing recommendations. Judges rely on these reports to decide sentences.

Which defendants get PSIs?

Any defendants convicted a felony. But defendants convicted of only a category E felony get PSIs if:

  • The defendant had no PSI report within the last five years, and either
  1. The court requests it;
  2. The defendant was on felony probation when he/she allegedly committed the category E felony;
  3. The defendant previously violated felony probation;
  4. The defendant failed to complete court-ordered rehab; or
  5. The defendant has two prior felonies

Courts can also request PSIs in gross misdemeanors cases.

What is in the PSI report?

The following information about the defendant:

  • Prior convictions;
  • Unresolved cases involving the defendant;
  • Incidents where the defendant failed to appear at court;
  • Any arrests within the last 10 years;
  • Child support obligations;
  • Any diversion or specialty court participation; and whether the defendant completed them;
  • Defendant's characteristics, including finances;
  • The victims' physical, emotional, and financial impact;
  • Any gang affiliations; and
  • Psycho-sexual evaluation results. (This is only in sex offense cases that carry possible probation.)

The report also includes recommendations for prison terms and fines. The NPP may also recommend a regimental discipline program.

Who conducts presentence investigations?

Depending on the case, the following staff:

  • Qualified NPP employees;
  • Psychiatrists;
  • Psychologists;
  • Social workers;
  • Registered nurses,;
  • Marriage and family therapists; and/or
  • Clinical professional counselors

Specialists use this questionnaire to gather background information. Specialists also interview any crime victims.

Who gets to see the presentence investigation report?

The presentence investigation report is given to the following parties:

  • The defendant;
  • The defendant's attorney; and
  • The prosecuting attorney

Upon request, the NPP will also give the report to:

  • Law enforcement agencies;
  • The Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • The Nevada Gaming Control Board

Otherwise, the PSI report should remain confidential.

When can defendants see the PSI report?

Typically 14 days before sentencing. But the PSI does not have to occur prior to sentencing if:

  • The jury decided the sentence; or
  • The defendant had a PSI report done within the last five years

Category E defendants with no PSI get a "general investigation report." But this will occur within 45 days after sentencing. This includes such information as:

  • Prior convictions;
  • Characteristics and behavior;
  • Circumstances of the offense; and
  • How the offense impacted the victim

Is the PSI used just for sentencing?

No. The reports can also be used for the following reasons:

  • The Nevada Department of Corrections uses it to designate inmates;
  • The NPP references it when defendants get released on parole or probation;
  • The Parole Board reads it to determine whether to grant parole;
  • Correctional treatment agencies refer to it to determine rehabilitation options;
  • If the defendant moves while on probation, the receiving state's probation department relies on it. (Learn about moving states under the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICOAS)); and
  • If the defendant ever becomes a fugitive, the police use it to help locate him/her

Legal References:

NRS 176.133.  


NRS 176.139.

NRS 176.145.

NRS 176.151.

NRS 176.153.

NRS 176.156.


About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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