Indicates whether the defendant 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 lessen 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. For example, evidence of the defendant’s previous bad acts or mitigating factors such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the accused’s military service, public service or other accomplishments which might have a bearing on his or her conviction.
Refers to specific laws, policies and precedents in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may affect sentencing, such as mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines or prevailing community views on punishment.
Sentencing may take into account how much an accused has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his or her case.
The defendant’s age 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 condition may be given a lighter sentence.
The role played by the accused in committing the offence may affect his or her sentence A principal or a 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 considered in determining an appropriate sentence. The court may consider the defendant’s 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, whereas a more lenient sentence may not have the same effect.
The safety and protection of the public is an important 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 successful rehabilitation may be sentenced more leniently.
Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums set by state or federal law may be a factor in determining a sentence. The court must follow these guidelines and mandatory minimums, though 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 mitigating circumstances are elements that decrease the severity of the sentence.
The views of the community and the judiciary on the appropriate punishment for a particular offence can be a factor in the determination of a sentence Public opinion and the views of the judge or sentencing panel can influence the perceived severity of a particular sentence.
A sentencing factor that may be considered is the extent to which the defendant assisted law enforcement or other authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
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 played by the defendant 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 refers to the specific details and events surrounding the crime committed, including the method used and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s criminal history, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s previous sentencing history.
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 whether the defendant shows remorse for the offence committed, including apologies or expressions of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial harm suffered by the victims/s by the crime and how the crime impacted on the victims/s life.