What should you expect before your pre-sentence report interview? Many people feel unsure. Your interview matters. Here are five things you should know to be prepared.
1. Most importantly, accept responsibility for the offence. You do not need to give an account of what happened, but you should admit the essential elements of the offence. It will be appropriate to acknowledge the impact the offence had on the victim.
2. Explain your actions, but do not give excuses. It can often feel like a balancing act. You should tell the officer about the facts that are sympathetic to you but try not to come across as blaming someone else. Remember: this is not the time and place to make arguments about who did what.
3. Be prepared to provide some detailed information. The officer will want a detailed account of your family, your health and your employment history.
4. Prepare a list of people who can be contacted to provide information about you. You should also bring their contact information. First, the officer may want specific information from people such as your employer. Second, the officer may want general information about your character from people such as your family. It is important that your family members strike the same balance as you. That is, they should speak positively about you, but not minimize the offence. For example, they might indicate how out of character your action was.
5. Talk about the positive changes in your life. It is important for the officer to understand all the things that have changed since committing the offence and why you are not likely to commit any other criminal offences in the future. This might include counselling, lifestyle changes, new positive relationships, etc.
Terrance G. Sheppard has been a criminal law lawyer for 20 years and has a wide range of experience from high profile murder cases to everyday motor vehicle charges. Terrance also practices family law, concentrating on issues relating to surrogacy, adoption, divorce, child support and spousal support.