Judges have to evaluate the criminal cases to identify various elements that will depict the seriousness or harshness of the crime. While analyzing various factors, they come across certain aggravating and mitigating factors, which play a pivotal role in the case. These factors can either make the defendant’s life better or worse.
In this article, we will discuss what these aggravating and mitigating factors are and how they differ in various circumstances. However, if you are stuck in any such case, you can consult a lawyer, such as a Charlotte murder attorney, for better advice.
What are Aggravating Circumstances?
Aggravating circumstances are factors that increase the severity of the punishment by making it more serious and heinous. Therefore, it may lead to harsher punishment for the accused, such as long prison sentences, heavier fines, or, in some extreme cases, the imposition of the death penalty.
Some important examples of aggravating circumstances are excessive violence, premeditation, commission for financial gain, and other such instances.
What are the Factors leading to aggravated circumstances?
- Previous Convictions
- Evidence of prior planning
- Offense in front of a child
- Serious harm was intended
- The offense was committed as part of an organised criminal group
- Vulnerable victim
- Weapons were used to frighten the vulnerable victim
- Deliberate and gratuitous violence
- Multiple victims
- Offenders abused a position of power.
What are Mitigating Circumstances?
Mitigation circumstances are different from aggravating ones as they reduce the severity of the punishment. There are factors that are considered by the court to justify the crime and reduce the severity of the offense. Therefore, it leads to a reduction or leniency in the sentence.
The main aim of mitigating circumstances is to understand the defendant’s situation, which led to the criminal behavior. Some of the important examples are no prior criminal record, genuine remorse, and other such factors.
What are the Factors Influencing Mitigating Circumstances?
- No criminal record
- The offender is of good character
- Mental or physical disability
- Good conduct following the arrest
- Committed the offence under stress
- The offender is young or very old
- Had a minor role in the offense
- Suffered past circumstances.
So, these are some of the important factors in mitigating circumstances. The attorneys will try to prove these factors from the offender’s defense, and the prosecutor will prove the aggravating factors. After analyzing all these factors, the court has to decide the sentence or punishment in the case.