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 that may reduce the defendant’s responsibility or moral culpability for the offence, such as acting under duress or coercion, or being necessary to prevent greater harm.
Refers to the evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that may affect the sentence, such as evidence of the defendant’s previous bad acts or mitigating circumstances 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 punishment.
Refers to the specific laws, policies, and case law in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may affect the sentence. For example, mandatory minimum sentences, sentencing guidelines, or prevailing community views on punishment.
The extent to which the accused has cooperated with the police and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his own case may be a factor in sentencing. Cooperation may demonstrate acceptance of responsibility and 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 condition may be sentenced more leniently.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may affect his or her sentence. A principal or co-conspirator may be sentenced more severely than an accomplice or someone who played a minor role.
The financial resources and ability of the accused to pay fines or other financial penalties may be considered in determining an appropriate sentence. The court may consider the ability of the accused to pay compensation to the victims and/or fines to the State.
Sentences can be influenced by the aim to deter the offender and others from similar offences in the future.
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 so as not to reoffend, may be taken into account in determining an appropriate sentence. A defendant who appears to have a high probability of successful rehabilitation may be sentenced more leniently.
A court is required to follow sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums established by state or federal law, but has some discretion to do so.
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.
Public opinion and judges’ or sentencers’ views may influence perceptions of harshness of particular sentences.
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 defendant may be relevant in determining the sentence, as these factors may affect the defendant’s ability to understand the consequences of his or her actions and his or her potential for rehabilitation.
The role of the accused in the commission of the crime may also be taken into account, with those who played a leading or more active role often receiving harsher penalties.
This factor relates to the specific details and events surrounding the offence committed, including the method used and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor considers the defendant’s previous criminal history, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s previous sentences.
It takes into account a defendants’ whole background, including education, employment, family circumstances and any history of drug or alcohol misuse.
This factor considers the defendant’s expression of remorse for the offence, including apologies or expressions of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial harm suffered by the victim(s) as a result of the offence and how the offence has affected their lives.