Vulnerability of the victim: In some jurisdictions, the court may impose a harsher sentence if the victim is found to be vulnerable, either by an objective standard or to the accused. Age-related vulnerability, such as a violent crime against a child or a fraudulent scheme against the elderly, can be an aggravating factor. Other factors may include physical or mental disability, illness or injury, and inability to work. If a judge or jury finds an accused guilty at the end of a criminal trial, the court must determine the defendant`s sentence. State and federal criminal laws often set maximum penalties based on the classification of crimes, with offenses having the most severe penalties possible. Judges have some discretion in sentencing, and a verdict hearing gives prosecutors and defendants the opportunity to present evidence that the court can consider. Aggravating and mitigating circumstances in criminal proceedings may be addressed in the probation officer`s attendance report, in the arguments of the prosecution and defence, in the testimony, in the defendant`s direct address to the judge, and in the statements of victims of a crime. In the United States, most mitigating factors are presented in a manner that is best described by the defendant`s clinical assessments and circumstances, so a psychological or psychiatric analysis is included in the court submission. About half of U.S. states allow proof that the defendant was in extreme psychological or emotional distress as a mitigating factor when accompanied by an assessment that the defendant`s ability to appreciate the criminal aspect of his crime (mens rea), or his ability to control his behavior to meet the requirements of the law, has been altered. [4] If you have been charged with a crime and believe there are mitigating factors, you do not deserve the harshest sentence possible. Spolin Law P.C. will review your case and answer any questions you may have about the sentence.

Call us today at (310) 424-5816. In the United States, the issue of mitigating factors is particularly important in death penalty cases. In a series of decisions since 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court has sought to make the death penalty less arbitrary in the United States, emphasizing that the judge or jury must be given an opportunity to consider any mitigating evidence before rendering a verdict. Thus, the Court emphasized that the constitutional requirement of fundamental respect for human dignity, enshrined in the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, requires the disclosure of information about the personality and background of the accused and the circumstances of the offense in question. [4] Negative mitigation, on the other hand, attempts to highlight difficulties or difficult circumstances that may have led the accused to commit the crime. For example, details about growing up in an abusive home or a history of mental illness are examples of mitigating circumstances that can be used to argue for a lighter sentence. California Court Rule 4.423 establishes circumstances that are mitigating factors related to the offense and the defendant that may reduce the sentence imposed. In the event of a burglary, California law would require the court to impose a four-year prison sentence, unless the court determines that aggravating factors require an increase in the sentence to six years or mitigating factors justify reducing the sentence to two years. Prosecutors may present evidence of aggravating factors that would merit a harsh sentence during trial. Criminal laws often identify specific factors that should lead to harsher penalties.

A common aggravating factor is a previous record of similar convictions. Other aggravating factors are usually related to the circumstances of the crime itself, such as the use of a weapon or the severity of a victim`s injuries. With the exception of previous convictions, a court cannot use aggravating factors to impose a harsher sentence than usual unless the jury concludes that these factors are true beyond a reasonable doubt. Cunningham v. California, 549 U.S. 270 (2007). It is clear how important it is to present mitigating factors in order to outweigh aggravating factors. In the case of burglary, the presence of mitigating factors can reduce the potential prison sentence by two-thirds. If there is a death sentence according to A.R.S. ยง 13-751, the judge must find beyond doubt evidence of at least one aggravating circumstance enumerated in the law and must not find mitigating circumstances sufficiently important to be more lenient. In general, it is possible for a competent defendant to waive the presentation of mitigating evidence if the waiver is intelligent, voluntary, and conscious. In most cases, however, it is important to skillfully present mitigating evidence so that a lesser sentence is received.

The following lists summarize the main aggravating and mitigating circumstances that may apply to more than one offence or class of offences. They include certain factors that are integral to certain crimes; In such cases, the existence of the aggravating circumstance is already reflected in the sentence imposed for the offence and cannot be invoked to justify a further increase in the penalty. The lists are not exhaustive and the factors are not listed in any particular order. If two or more of the factors listed describe the same characteristic, care should be taken to avoid “double counting”. In some cases, it is not possible to obtain an acquittal. However, once guilt has been decided, an experienced lawyer may be able to receive a lighter sentence by presenting factors that the judge should consider mitigating or diminishing the harmfulness of your actions. Presenting the appropriate mitigating factors in the Arizona conviction can make a difference in your case. James Novak is an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney who previously served as a prosecutor. He has a good understanding of how judges are likely to consider your case and what factors may lead a judge to sentence you more leniently.

While more evidence is preferred, even some important mitigating factors can influence sentencing. A shortened period of imprisonment or incarceration has a significant impact on the offender`s life and rehabilitation, and mitigating factors can greatly influence the length of the defendant`s sentence. Prior to sentencing, a defendant may work with his or her lawyer to develop and maximize the effects of mitigating factors. The information may come from the accused, his or her friends or family, a witness, a probation officer or anyone else with relevant information. Judges may consider many different mitigating factors when convicting an accused. These include the age of the accused, their ability to understand that they did something wrong, the possibility that they were compelled to do so, the extent of their role in the crime, their support in the community, their family or religion, and any other mitigating factors that the court considers mitigating. Suppose, for example, that the accused has a mental disability that prevents him from resisting an accomplice`s call to attack someone. This could be a mitigating circumstance in a personal injury case, as the defendant may not have been able to understand what he did wrong. Similarly, in the case of a first sale of controlled substances, the court could involve an 18-year-old student who is a heterosexual student with no criminal record, considering the student`s age, grades and lack of a criminal record as mitigating factors. Or, in another example, if a defendant with a previous military service and a strong employment history expresses sufficient remorse for an economic crime, the judge may impose a lighter sentence. When determining a sentence or misdemeanor, judges assess these mitigating factors as well as the aggravating circumstances that arise. Unlike mitigating circumstances, aggravating circumstances increase the guilt of the accused and favour heavier sentences.

Some examples include a lack of remorse, a leadership role in crime, or a history of criminal behavior. To mitigate means to diminish the effect of something. Mitigating factors in criminal law are the circumstances or facts about the crime or the accused that require the judge to impose a less severe sentence. The prosecution will most likely use aggravating factors related to the crime or the accused to increase the sentence, so mitigating circumstances are essential to obtain a lighter sentence. In criminal law, mitigating circumstances are factors that help reduce an offender`s guilt and encourage the judge to be more lenient in sentencing. Under French law (Code of Criminal Procedure, art. 345), only the right and duty of a jury in criminal proceedings to decide whether or not the commission of the offence was accompanied by mitigating circumstances (mitigating circumstances).