Indicates whether the defendant has reached an agreement with the prosecution to admit guilt in exchange for a reduced sentence, or whether the defendant has provided information or assistance to the authorities during the investigation or prosecution of the case.
Refers to circumstances that may reduce the defendant’s degree of responsibility or moral culpability for the crime. For example, the defendant acted under duress or coercion, or because it was necessary to prevent greater harm.
Refers to evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that may affect the sentence, such as evidence of past bad acts committed by the accused, or mitigating circumstances such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the accused’s military service, public service or other accomplishments which could have a bearing on the conviction.
Indicates the specific laws, policies, and case law in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may affect the sentence, such as mandatory minimum sentences, sentencing guidelines, or prevailing community views about punishment.
It is important to remember that a defendant who has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his or her offences may have his or her sentence reduced.
The age of the accused and any physical or mental health problems may be relevant to the court in determining an appropriate sentence, e.g. an elderly accused or one with a serious health problem may be given a lighter sentence.
The role played by the defendant in the commission of the offence can have an impact on the sentence – a principal or a co-conspirator may receive a more severe sentence than an accomplice or someone who played 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 compensation to the victim(s) and/or fines to the state.
Sentencing may be influenced by the aim of deterring the accused 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.
The safety and protection of the public is a key consideration in sentencing. A defendant who poses a significant threat to public safety may be sentenced more severely to ensure that he or she is unable to 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 likelihood of being successfully rehabilitated may be sentenced more leniently.
Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences set out in 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.
Statutory aggravating circumstances are elements of the offence or of the defendant’s conduct that increase the severity of the sentence, while mitigating circumstances are elements that decrease the severity of the sentence. These factors are often specified by state or federal law.
Public opinion and the views of judges or sentencers may influence the perception of the gravity of a particular sentence.
The extent to which the defendant assisted law enforcement or other authorities in investigating or prosecuting the offence may be considered a sentencing factor.
Age, mental and physical health of an accused person are relevant to sentencing because they affect his or her ability to understand consequences of his or her actions and his or her ability to reform.
The role of the defendant in the commission of the offence may also be taken into account. Those who played a leading or more active role often receive a more severe sentence.
This factor refers to the specific details and events surrounding the offence committed, including the method used and any extenuating or attenuating circumstances.
This factor considers the defendant’s previous criminal record, including any previous convictions, as well as the defendant’s history of having been sentenced.
This factor takes into account the overall background of the defendant, including his or her education, employment, family situation and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor considers whether the accused has shown remorse for the offence, including apology or remorse.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial harm suffered by the victims/s by virtue of the crime, and how the crime impacted on the victims/s life.