The verdict in your case wasn’t what you’d hoped to hear – but neither your case nor your defense is over. The court still has to decide your sentence, and the judge has considerable leeway. The prosecution is determined that you get the maximum possible sentence, and they’re ready with a list of reasons they believe justify that. Those are called “aggravating” factors that the court may consider before imposing your sentence.
Your defense, however, is equally ready with a list of reasons why the court should be inclined toward leniency. These are called “mitigating” factors – and the court is equally free to consider those.
Some common mitigating factors
Whether you’re facing a conviction for simple assault or some form of homicide, there are numerous things that the court may be willing to consider. While definitely not exclusive, here are some common mitigating factors that can be weighed in sentencing:
- The lack of a prior criminal record
- Whether the role you played in the crime was relatively minor
- The involvement of others in the crime (especially where it was greater than yours)
- Whether the victim played some role in provoking the situation
- Whether you have demonstrated real remorse over the situation
- Witness statements about your good character
- Statements about your contributions to society, your community and your family
- Mental or emotional problems that may have led to your actions
To get the best possible outcome in your case, make sure that you talk about mitigation strategies with your attorney. If you’re charged with a violent crime, it’s important to have a multifaceted defense ready from the start.