Mitigating Factors That May Afford You Leniency In A Criminal Court


Have you ever wondered why some people get record-breaking punishments in criminal court while others receive relatively lenient sentences? Well, getting leniency in criminal court depends on several factors. For example, you may be able to get a lenient sentence if you can prove that:

You Were Under Extreme Duress When Committing the Crime

Being forced into a crime may not get you off the hook for the responsibility of the crime. However, it can help you get a lower punishment than you would have received if the element of duress had been lacking. Consider an example where your employer threatens to fire you if you don't help them evade taxation. In such a case, the judge may be more lenient with you than if you had executed the tax evasion measures without your employer's threats.

You Have a Clean Criminal History

Criminals are punished to help them see the error of their ways, to show then that crime attracts negative things, and to warn others against committing the same crime. However, if you have already committed several crimes in your past, the judge may have the view that your past punishments didn't act as an adequate deterrent. That is why repeat offenders tend to get more severe punishments than first-time offenders.

You Are a Minor

Both adults and children can be charged and convicted of criminal activities; that is why there are juvenile courts. However, the law recognizes that minors may not be as aware of their actions, and the relevant repercussions, as adults are. Not only that, but the law recognizes that dishing out adult punishment on minor criminal convicts is not appropriate because the effects can be too much for the children to handle. As such, a minor who steals someone's jewelry may receive a more lenient punishment than an adult who steals a comparable piece of jewelry.

You Played a Minor Role in a Group Crime

For crimes that are committed in groups, the major participants and organizers may face more severe penalties than those who carried out minor roles. For example, in a robbery case, the lookout guy may receive a more lenient sentence than a person who actually goes into the shop and discharges their firearm.

You Were Under Extreme Mental Disturbance at the Time of the Crime

Lastly, the judge may also be lenient with you if you had a severe mental disturbance when committing the alleged crime. Consider the example of a child who receives the news of a loved one's death and then gets involved in a fistfight with another person. If the child is charged with assault, the judge may be lenient on them given the mental state they were in at the time of the assault.

Be sure to consult with a criminal defense attorney if you are in need of legal help. 


11 September 2018

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