When the defendant has appeared in court and pled guilty or no contest to an offense and the Judge feels that there may be a need for more information before the defendant is sentenced, a pre-sentence investigation may be ordered by the Judge.
A pre-sentence investigation is done by the court's adult probation officer (or department).
The defendant is given a questionnaire to fill out and is told to make an appointment, and will be interviewed. (Sometimes this can happen immediately.)
From this questionnaire the probation department will review and will verify the information.
The Victim Impact Statement (PDF, 703KB) is an essential part of the pre-sentence investigation, because this helps the Judge, Probation Department, and the Prosecutor too.
Upon completion of the information gathering and verification process, a sentencing hearing date will be scheduled.
The information gathered by the Probation Department and the recommendations of that department will be used by the Judge to determine what type of sentence the defendant will receive and whether they will be placed on probation.
So you should try to appear in court for the sentencing hearing if at all possible, so the Judge can speak to you in person.