Indicates whether the accused reached 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 of the matter.
Refers to circumstances, such as acting under duress or coercion or because it was necessary to prevent greater harm, that may reduce the defendant’s degree of responsibility or moral culpability for the offence.
The evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that could affect the penalty, such as evidence of the defendant’s previous bad acts or mitigating circumstances such as mental illness or addiction.
Indicates military service, public service or other accomplishments which might affect the conviction.
Indicates the specific legislation, policies and case law in the jurisdiction where the offence has been committed that might affect the sentence, for example, mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines or prevailing community attitudes to 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 taken into account in determining an appropriate sentence. The court may consider whether a defendant has the 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 lesser sentence may not.
The safety and protection of the public is a key consideration in sentencing. A sentence may be increased for an offender who poses a significant threat to public safety to prevent him 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 considered in determining an appropriate sentence A defendant who appears likely to be successfully rehabilitated may be sentenced less severely.
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 minimums, 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 by state or federal law.
The views of the community and the judiciary as to the appropriate punishment for a particular offence may be a factor in determining a sentence Public opinion and the views of the judge or sentencing panel may influence the perceived severity of a particular sentence.
The extent to which the accused helped law enforcement or other authorities to investigate or prosecute the crime may be taken into account as a sentencing factor.
The age, 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 their actions and their potential for rehabilitation.
The role of the defendant 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 relates to specific details and events surrounding the offence, including method used and 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 considers the defendant’s general background, including education, employment, family, and drug/alcohol history.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s expression of remorse for the crime committed. This includes any apologies or expressions of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial damage suffered by the victim/s as a result of the crime and how the crime has affected their lives.