Utah Sentencing Alternatives is not a law firm, we are not attorneys, we do not provide legal advice, and we do not provide treatment services.  We are Sentencing Specialists.  If it is appropriate or necessary, we make referrals for these (or other) professional services – but we do not provide them in-house.  As such, we do not have a financial interest in the outcome which translates into more accurate & reliable recommendations.


What is a Sentencing Specialist?

Sentencing Specialists, using best correctional practices, conducts criminal risk assessments; personal history investigations; and guideline calculations to formulate individualized outcome recommendations, including alternative sentencing solutions when appropriate.


Why do I need a Sentencing Specialist?

Engaging the services of a Sentencing Specialist is a proactive defense strategy that allows your defense attorney to focus on the legal aspects of the case while the sentencing specialist focuses on integrating individual specific information with scientific research and other relevant information to present reasonable recommendations to the sentencing authority.

Sentencing Specialists help defense attorneys ensure that all sentencing decisions are fully informed and with accurate, reliable, and relevant information.


I have never heard of a Sentencing Specialist, is this something new?

No, Sentencing Specialists have been around for at least fifty years.


Is hiring a Sentencing Specialist worthwhile?

Absolutely!  Including a Sentencing Specialist as a member of your defense team is the best way to guarantee the best possible outcome of your case.


How is Utah Sentencing Alternatives different?

Defense-Based Sentencing Reports (presentence reports or PSR’s) and consultations are all that we do; we do not provide “private probation” services or treatment.   We do offer other services but participation in those programs is strictly voluntary and independent of any recommendations for court imposed sanctions to avoid conflicts of interest.

In many states, including Utah, many private probation and substance abuse treatment providers recommend their own services; we are sensitive to this conflict of interest and do not accept financial compensation for referrals to third party service providers.


I have been charged with a federal crime, can Utah Sentencing Alternatives help me?

Yes.  Absolutely.


I have been charged with a state crime, can Utah Sentencing Alternatives help me?

Yes.  Absolutely.


What are some common mistakes people make pending sentencing?

Some of the most common mistakes include:

— blaming people, places, or things for their misfortune

— making excuses, procrastinating, or otherwise failing to take corrective action

— failing to change behaviors, attitudes, or relationships

— failing to take proactive measures to positively influence the outcome


A probation officer is preparing a presentence report, why should I pay for a Sentencing Specialist to prepare another sentencing report?

— probation officers are often aligned with law enforcement and the prosecution, at least in philosophical ideology, and they do not have your interests or needs as a priority

— probation officers have many competing interests to balance, including: high caseloads, limited resources, and time restrictions

— government prepared reports often contain errors or other misleading/unverified information

— government prepared reports may not be objective or contain all of the neceesary and relevant information

— judges rely on presentence reports (including Defense-Based Sentencing Reports) as their primary source of information when determining the appropriate sentence

— in most cases, the “big” sentencing decisions (that is whether to impose prison, jail, or probation) are made in the judge’s chambers based on the information available at that time, which is the government prepared PSR, any information provided in writing by defense counsel (such as a sentencing memorandum), and the Defense-Based Sentencing Report.

— whatever information is relied upon by the judge, including the Defense-Based Sentencing Report, is what the Board of Pardons will consider during your parole hearing – but there is no opportunity to correct or augment the government’s report after sentencing and before the parole hearing – so if the judge relies upon inaccurate or incomplete information when imposing sentence, the parole board will rely on that same information in determining parole eligibility.


Will the judge read and consider information submitted by Utah Sentencing Alternatives?

Yes.  Absolutely, in fact some judges have gone so far as to direct the parole board to disregard the information contained in the probation report and rely instead on the information in the Defense-Based Sentencing Report when determining parole eligibility.


When should I contact Utah Sentencing Alternatives?

It is never to early to contact Utah Sentencing Alternatives if you have been arrested, indicted, or charged with a criminal offense; but it may be to late…