The Ohio Senate is currently considering a bill that could save the state significant amounts of money, while at the same time could minimize the amount of time certain inmates spend in jail awaiting sentencing. This would be done by eliminating the requirement for the preparation of a presentence report if both the prosecution and defense agree. In general, this change would apply only to those offenders convicted of relatively minor crimes who are facing some type of probation rather than prison time. The bill would not totally do away with the reports in these cases, but rather make them optional—a judge could still order its preparation and the prosecution and defense could still request them.
At the moment, presentence reports cost the state up to $800 to prepare, as well as the additional costs of imprisoning many inmates during the interim. This hurts both the inmates and the system, as the time needed to prepare a presentence report can stretch anywhere from three to six weeks. As the bill’s co-sponsor Greta Johnson, an Akron Democrat, points out, this is time unwarranted, since the offenses covered by the bill would not otherwise require jail time.
Understanding Presentence Reports
If passed, this change would put presentence report practices better in line with the expectations of the courts, as the Ohio Supreme Court has deemed presentence investigations in non-prison felony cases “excessive and unwarranted.” That’s because the purpose of a presentence report is essentially to give judges a better idea of the appropriate sentence for a particular crime and allow them to be as lenient (or harsh) as they deem fit based on the information. When the maximum sentence a person is facing is probation, this is a waste of the court’s time.
Still, presentence reports are in no way going to be eliminated on the larger scale in Ohio. These reports provide judges with important information that could impact the duration of any sentence, such as circumstances of the offense, any repentance or regret on the part of the defendant, the defendant’s personal and family history, and many other factors that affect the deserved time handed down. If you are facing a serious misdemeanor or a felony crime punishable by imprisonment, you want to be sure that your presentence report is thorough enough to include any information that may help your case.
What this Bill Could Mean for Ohio
If passed, this bill can do a lot of good for those people who would otherwise be in limbo awaiting a sentence that would release them. In the meantime, those inmates simply waiting the formalization of a probation sentence are sadly stuck. If you are facing any criminal charges, you want to make sure that you are facing the least penalties possible—presentence report or no.
The best way to do this is to aggressively fight the charges against you with the help of an experienced Cincinnati criminal attorney. Call the lawyers at Luftman, Heck, and Associates at (513) 338-1890 for a free case evaluation today. Our Cincinnati criminal attorneys will be able to give you an honest assessment of what you should expect from the criminal justice process and tell you how we may be able to help you get through it with the best possible outcome.