Indicates whether the accused has entered into an agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence, or whether he has provided information or assistance to the authorities in investigating or prosecuting the case.
Refers to circumstances, such as acting under duress or coercion, or because it was necessary to prevent greater harm, which may reduce the defendant’s degree of responsibility or moral culpability for the offence.
Refers to the evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that may affect the sentence. For example, evidence of the defendant’s previous bad acts or mitigating factors such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the defendant’s military service, public service or other achievements that may be relevant to his or her sentence.
Refers to the specific laws, policies and case law in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may have an impact on the sentence, such as mandatory minimum sentences, sentencing guidelines or prevailing community views on punishment.
The extent to which the defendant has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in the investigation and prosecution of his or her own case may be a factor in sentencing. Cooperation may demonstrate an acceptance of responsibility and may be considered by the court as a mitigating factor.
The defendant’s age and any physical or mental health problems may be relevant to the court’s determination of an appropriate sentence. For example, an older defendant or one with a serious health problem may be sentenced more leniently.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may have an impact on his or her sentence. A principal or co-conspirator may receive a more severe sentence than an accomplice or someone with a minor role.
A defendant’s financial resources and ability to pay fines or other financial penalties may be taken into account in determining an appropriate sentence. The court may consider whether a defendant has the ability to pay restitution to the victim(s) and/or fines to the state.
Sentencing may be influenced by the aim of deterring the defendant and others from committing similar offences in the future – a severe sentence may act as a deterrent, while a more lenient sentence may not have the same effect.
Public safety and protection is a key consideration in sentencing A defendant who poses a significant threat to public safety may be sentenced more severely to ensure they cannot commit further offences.
The defendant’s potential for rehabilitation, or ability to be successfully treated or trained not to reoffend, may be taken into account in determining an appropriate sentence. A defendant who appears to have a high likelihood of being successfully rehabilitated may be sentenced more leniently.
Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences set by state or federal law may be a factor in determining a sentence. The court must follow these guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences, although it may have some discretion in certain cases.
Legal aggravators are elements of the crime or the defendant’s conduct that increase the penalty, while mitigators are elements that decrease the penalty. These factors are often specified by state or federal law.
Community and judicial views on the appropriate punishment for a particular offence can be a factor in sentencing. Public opinion and the views of the judge or sentencing panel can have an impact on the perceived severity of a particular sentence.
The extent to which the defendant has been of assistance to law enforcement or other authorities in their investigation or prosecution of the offence may be a sentencing factor.
The age and mental and physical health of the accused may be relevant in determining the sentence, as these factors may affect the accused’s ability to understand the consequences of his or her actions and the potential for rehabilitation.
The defendant’s role in committing the offence may also be considered, with those who played a leading or more active role often receiving more severe sentences.
This factor relates to specific details and events surrounding the offence, including method used and aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s previous criminal record, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s previous sentences.
This factor is a consideration of the defendant’s overall background, including education, employment, family situation and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor considers the defendant’s demonstrated remorse for the crime committed, including apologies or expressions of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial damage suffered by the victim(s) as a result of the offence and the way in which the offence has affected their lives.