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 that may diminish the degree of responsibility or moral blameworthiness of the defendant for the offence, such as because he or she acted under duress or coercion, or because it was necessary to prevent a greater harm.
Refers to the evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that may have an impact on the sentence, such as evidence of the defendant’s previous bad acts 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 his or her conviction.
Refers to the specific laws, policies and case law in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may have an impact on the sentence, such as 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 offences may have his or her sentence reduced as a result.
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 problem may be given a lighter sentence.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may affect their sentence. A principal or a conspirator may receive a more severe sentence than a collaborator or someone 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 a defendant’s ability to pay restitution to the victim or victims 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, 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 offender poses a significant threat to public safety, a harsher sentence may be imposed to prevent the offender from committing further offences.
The defendant’s potential for rehabilitation, or ability to be successfully treated or trained 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 minimum sentences set by state or federal law may be a factor in determining a sentence. The court must follow these guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences, though 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 judges’ or sentencers’ views may influence perceptions of harshness of a particular penalty.
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 and mental and physical health of the defendant may be relevant in determining a 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 defendant’s role 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 crime committed, including the method used and any aggravating or mitigating 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 accused, including education, employment, family circumstances and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor considers whether the accused has shown remorse for the offence, including by apologising or expressing remorse.
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.