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 lessen the responsibility or moral culpability of the accused, such as acting under duress or coercion, or because it was necessary to prevent greater harm.
Evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecutor and the defence that could affect the penalty, such as evidence of the accused’s previous bad acts or mitigating factors such as mental illness or addiction.
Indicates military service, public service or other accomplishments which might affect the conviction.
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.
It is important to remember that a defendant who has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his or her crime 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 older accused or one with a serious health condition may be given a lighter sentence.
The role played by the defendant in the commission of the offence may have an impact on the sentence – a principal or a co-conspirator may receive a more severe sentence than an accomplice or a person who played 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. If an accused person poses a significant threat to public safety, a harsher sentence may be imposed to prevent him or her from committing further offences.
The potential of the accused to be rehabilitated, or 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 likely to be successfully rehabilitated 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.
Legal aggravators are elements of the crime or the defendant’s conduct that increase the penalty, while mitigators are elements that decrease the penalty.
Public opinion and judges’ or sentencers’ views may influence perceptions of harshness 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.
The age, 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.
Their role in committing an offence is also taken into account, with those with leadership or more active roles often receiving harsher penalties.
This factor refers to the specific details and events surrounding the offence that was committed, including the method used and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances that may apply.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s previous criminal record, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s history of prior convictions.
This factor considers the defendant’s general background, including education, employment, family situation and drug/alcohol history.
This factor considers the accused’s demonstration of remorse for the crime committed, including apology or expression of regret.
This factor is an assessment of 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.