The Criminal Court System must pass sentences that are deserving of the seriousness of the crime committed. After a defendant in a criminal case pleads “guilty” or is convicted based on the facts presented, a judge decides the appropriate punishment be meted out.
Regardless of the crime, certain factors affect the final sentencing and possible ruling in your favor in a criminal case. You need to read on if you have a pending criminal case or know someone who might need this help.
Guidelines for Criminal Sentencing
A judge must consider sentencing guidelines for every specific crime when sentencing. These guidelines are provided by the constitution and state laws. The jury must also consider these guidelines; although they do not prescribe the sentences themselves, they are a deciding factor in deciding your guilt or innocence.
Some crimes require mandatory minimum sentences, while in some other cases, judges are granted more discretion. The court must also consider any aggravating and mitigating factors relevant to the offense or the offender’s circumstances.
After guilt has been established, an experienced defense attorney may be able to obtain a lighter sentence by presenting to the judge factors that could be regarded as mitigating the harm caused by the crime committed by the defendant. Putting forward the relevant mitigating factors might be the key to getting a lighter sentence.
What are the Mitigating Factors in a Criminal Case?
Mitigation is proof necessary to improve the defendant’s character in the eyes of the court, their predisposition to commit the crime, and the circumstances surrounding it. In simple terms, they are facts presented in court by a lawyer to make the offense of the accused seem minimal.
Some factors can include lack of family, inequality between sentences between co-defendants, being a sexually abused victim, and past military service.
If, for example, the defendant has an intellectual disability, is taken advantage of by the primary perpetrator of a crime, and gets forced to assault someone, his disability will be considered a mitigating circumstance in an assault case. That’s because the defendant may lack the ability to clearly understand that what he was doing was wrong and harmful.
Common Mitigating Factors
- The defendant is a first-time offender and has no criminal history.
- The defendant was an accessory to the crime (assisted the main offender) but was not the leading actor.
- The defendant committed the crime under duress or great personal stress.
- The defendant did not hurt anyone in the process of committing the crime.
- The defendant was not particularly destructive, violent, or vindictive with the victims of the crime.
- The defendant got subjected to a great degree of provocation.
- Mental illness or disability.
- The defendant exhibited genuine remorse.
- The defendant gave honest admissions to the police in interviews and willingly cooperated.
In conclusion, having an experienced attorney is very important for your case. Suppose you are ever convicted or accept a guilty plea; it is crucial to have an attorney who can put forward persuasive mitigating factors before a judge for you to get a chance at a reduced sentence.
Contact us at FKMA Law. to schedule a consultation so that we can get started on your case.