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 proceedings.
Refers to circumstances that may reduce the defendant’s level of responsibility or moral blameworthiness for the crime, such as acting under duress or coercion, or because it was necessary to prevent greater harm.
Refers to evidence or arguments presented by the prosecution and defence that may affect the sentence, such as evidence of the defendant’s past crimes or mitigating factors like mental illness or addiction.
Indicates military service, public service or other accomplishments which could affect the conviction.
For example, mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines, or community sentencing attitudes.
The extent to which the defendant has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in the investigation and prosecution of their own case may be a factor in sentencing. Cooperation may demonstrate acceptance of responsibility and may be considered by the court as a mitigating factor.
Age and any physical or mental health problems may play a role in a court deciding on a suitable sentence, e.g. a lesser sentence may apply to a person who is elderly or has a serious health problem.
Sentencing may be harsher than that of accomplices or those who played minor roles.
The financial resources of the accused and his or her ability to meet financial penalties may be considered in determining an appropriate sentence.
Sentences can be influenced by the aim to deter the offender and others from similar offences in the future.
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 given a more severe sentence to ensure that he or she is not able to commit further crimes.
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 to have a high probability of successful rehabilitation may be sentenced more leniently.
A court is required to follow sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums established by state or federal law, but has some discretion.
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. These factors are often specified in state or federal law.
Public opinion and the views of judges or sentencers may influence the perception of the harshness of a particular sentence.
The extent to which the defendant has assisted law enforcement or other authorities in investigating or prosecuting the crime may be considered as 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 rehabilitate.
The role of the accused in the commission of the crime may also be taken into account, with those who played a leading or more active role 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.
This factor considers the defendant’s previous criminal history, including any previous convictions, as well as the defendant’s previous sentencing history.
This factor considers the overall history of the accused, including education, employment, family circumstances and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor considers the accused’s demonstration of remorse for the crime committed, including apology or expression of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial harm suffered by the victim(s) as a result of the crime, and how the crime has affected their lives.