You may know that courts can use aggravating factors like background and prior criminal conduct to hand down harsher sentences if convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, many defendants in a criminal case are unaware that good behavior and no prior arrests can often help you avoid the harshest sentence.
These are known as mitigating factors, and courts typically account for them the same way they account for aggravating factors when deciding a sentence. Your outcome could improve significantly if your case involves special circumstances.
Several circumstances unique to you and your case can play a critical role in minimizing the severity of your alleged crime. For example, the court may lower your initial sentence if you have never been convicted or arrested. Other examples include:
- A mental or physical condition
- Younger than 26 years or a juvenile
- Prior or childhood psychological trauma
Look deep into the circumstances of your life to uncover factors that could elicit the court’s sympathy or understanding.
Sometimes, mitigating factors can arise during the alleged commission of a crime. Some examples of these factors include the following.
- Provoked, coerced or forced
- Only played a minimal role
- Self or property defense
Defendants who are careful not to harm anyone during the alleged crime may also garner sympathy from a California court.
Continue building your defense
While none of these factors are defensive strategies, consider them to create a plan of sentence mitigation in case a conviction occurs. However, before your journey reaches the sentencing stage, continue working with an experienced legal representative. With professional guidance, there is always a chance of overcoming your situation.