Refers to whether the defendant has entered into an agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty 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.
Refers to 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 factors such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the defendant’s military, public service or other achievements relevant to sentencing.
Refers to specific laws, policies and precedents in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may affect sentencing, such as mandatory minimum sentences, sentencing guidelines or prevailing community views on punishment.
The extent to which the accused cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in the investigation and prosecution of his own case may be a factor in sentencing.
The age of the defendant 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 problem may be given a more lenient sentence.
The role played by the accused in committing the offence may affect his or her sentence. A principal or 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 when 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 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 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 minimums, although it may have some discretion.
Aggravation is a factor in the offense or in the conduct of the offender which increases the penalty, whereas mitigation is a factor in the offense or conduct of the offender which reduces the penalty.
The views of the community and the judiciary on the appropriate punishment for a particular offence can be a factor in determining a sentence Public opinion and the views of the judge or sentencing panel can influence the perceived severity of a particular sentence.
The extent to which the accused has assisted the police or other authorities in investigating or prosecuting the offence may be considered 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 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 refers to the specific details and events surrounding the offence committed, including the method used and any extenuating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor considers the defendant’s criminal history, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s previous sentences.
This factor takes into account the overall background of the defendant, including his or her education, employment, family situation and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s demonstration of remorse for the crime committed, including any apologies or expressions 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.