Indicates whether the accused made an agreement with the prosecutor to admit guilt in exchange for a reduced sentence, or whether the accused provided information or assistance to the authorities during the investigation or prosecution.
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.
This is the evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that could affect the penalty, such as evidence of the accused’s previous criminal record or mitigating circumstances such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the defendant’s military, public service or other achievements relevant to sentencing.
Refers to specific laws, policies and precedents in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may affect sentencing, such as mandatory minimum sentences, sentencing guidelines, or prevailing community views on punishment.
The extent to which the accused cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in the investigation and prosecution of his own case may be a factor in sentencing.
The age of the defendant and any physical or mental health problems may be relevant to the court in determining an appropriate sentence – for example, an older defendant or one with a serious health problem may be given a more lenient sentence.
The role played by the accused in committing the offence may affect his or her sentence. A principal or coconspirator may receive a more severe sentence than an accomplice or someone playing a minor role.
A defendant’s financial resources and ability to pay fines or other financial penalties may be taken into account in the determination of an appropriate sentence. The court may have regard to a defendant’s ability to pay restitution to the victim(s) and/or fines to the state.
Sentencing can be influenced by the aim of deterring the defendant and others from committing similar offences in the future. A harsh sentence can act as a deterrent, while a more lenient sentence may not have the same effect.
The safety and protection of the public is a key consideration in sentencing. A defendant who poses a significant threat to the safety of the public may be sentenced more severely to ensure that he or she is not able to commit further offences.
The potential of the defendant to be rehabilitated, or the 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 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 the determination of a sentence. The court must follow these guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences, although it may have some discretion in certain cases.
Statutory aggravating circumstances are elements of the crime or the defendant’s conduct that increase the severity of the sentence, while statutory mitigating circumstances are elements that decrease the severity of the sentence. These factors are often specified in state or federal law.
Public opinion and judges’ or sentencers’ views may influence perceptions of harshness of a particular penalty.
The extent to which the defendant has assisted the police or other authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the offence may be taken into account as a factor in the sentencing decision.
Age, mental and physical health of an accused person may be relevant to sentencing as these factors may affect his or her ability to understand consequences of his or her actions and his or her capacity for rehabilitation.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may also be taken into account, with those who have played a leading or more active role often receiving a more severe sentence.
This factor refers to the specific details and events surrounding the crime committed, including the method used and any extenuating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s previous criminal record, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s history of previous sentencing.
This factor considers the defendant’s general background, including education, employment, family situation, drug/alcohol history.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s expression of remorse for the offence committed, including any apologies or expressions of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial harm that the victim(s) have suffered as a result of the crime and the impact of the crime on their lives.