Refers to whether the defendant has entered into a plea agreement with the prosecution 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 reduce the defendant’s degree of responsibility or moral culpability for the crime. For example, the defendant acted 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 affect the sentence, such as evidence of the defendant’s previous bad acts or mitigating factors such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the accused’s military, public or other service record that may be relevant to sentencing.
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 views on punishment in the community.
The extent to which the defendant has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his own case may be a factor in sentencing. Cooperation may demonstrate acceptance of responsibility and be considered by the court as a mitigating factor.
The defendant’s age 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 sentenced more leniently.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may affect his or her sentence. A principal or co-conspirator may receive a more severe sentence than an accomplice or someone 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 the determination of an appropriate sentence. The court may have regard to a 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 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 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 offences.
The defendant’s potential for rehabilitation, or ability 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 to have a high likelihood of being successfully rehabilitated may be sentenced more leniently.
Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences set by state or federal law may be a factor in the determination of a sentence. The court must follow these guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences, although it may have some discretion in certain cases.
Statutory aggravating circumstances are elements of the crime or defendant’s conduct that increase the severity of the sentence, while mitigating circumstances are elements that decrease the severity of the sentence.
Community and judicial views on the appropriate punishment for a particular crime 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.
A sentencing factor that may be considered is the extent to which the defendant assisted law enforcement or other authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the offence.
The defendant’s age, mental health and physical health may be relevant to the sentencing decision, as these factors may have an impact on the defendant’s ability to understand the consequences of their actions and their 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 relates 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 record, including any previous convictions, as well as the defendant’s previous sentencing history.
This factor considers the defendant’s whole background. This includes education, employment, family situation and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
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 that the victim(s) have suffered as a result of the crime and the impact of the crime on their lives.