Understanding Mitigating Factors in Arizona’s Criminal Cases
After a defendant is found guilty at trial, pleads guilty to the court, or pleads guilty via a plea agreement, they will go through the court’s sentencing process, known as “judgement and sentencing.” The penalties associated with a defendant’s sentencing are not necessarily formulaic. The court has the option to reduce the severity of the sentencing based on a defendant’s “mitigation.”
Mitigation is defined as anything that will reduce the undesirable outcome of a specific event. In court cases, mitigation is any evidence given to the court that will show the defendant in a more positive light.
In cases where aggravating factors are present, mitigating factors will be weighed against them in order for a court to impose a sentence.
According to A.R.S. 13-701, the court can consider the following mitigating circumstances:
- The defendant’s age.
- The defendant’s capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct or to conform the defendant’s conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution.
- Whether the defendant was under unusual/substantial duress, although not to a degree that would constitute a defense to prosecution.
- Any factor relevant to the defendant’s character or background.
- Whether or not the defendant complied with all the duties imposed upon them for offenses involving:
- Their duty to give information and assistance if they were the driver of a vehicle resulting in injury or death.
- Accidents involving death or physical injury.
- Accidents involving damage to a vehicle.
- Any factor relevant to the nature or circumstances of the crime that may be mitigating.
Most courts and defense attorneys emphasize the “catch all” circumstance where they can focus on any factor they deem relevant. This may include mental health issues, written character statements, alcohol or drug impairment, remorse, work history, physical health issues, or if the defendant was a lesser participant of the crime.
RIDEOUT LAW GROUP
With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.
Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:
- charges that are reduced or dropped.
- top experts reviewing your case.
- aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
- fines or probation in lieu of jail time.
At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.
Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.