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Mitigating circumstances in criminal cases like murder

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2022 | Murder/Homicide

There can be elements in a criminal case, such as one involving murder, that can persuade a judge or jury to view the accused with less severity. These mitigating circumstances “lighten the defendant’s blame,” as one expert put it. 

Mitigating circumstances are often taken into account in sentencing. They may help to paint a fuller picture of a defendant and what motivated their actions. Mitigation can be an important part of a defense case.

Examples of mitigating circumstances 

There are many kinds of mitigating circumstances. They can be connected with a defendant’s personal background and the context of the crime. Mitigating circumstances can include these examples:

  • The defendant demonstrates sincere remorse
  • The absence of a previous criminal record as an adult
  • Any unique circumstances that may have led to the defendant’s uncharacteristic act of violence
  • The defendant suffered from abuse earlier in life
  • Another person strongly influenced the defendant’s actions
  • Any mental impairment, intellectual problems or mental illness the defendant may have
  • The action the defendant took was unavoidable for some reason or a combination of reasons
  • The defendant’s tender or advanced age, if either may have played into their actions

Mitigating circumstances can be crucial whenever there is a possible range of punishment within a sentence. They can also be used to influence the court to give a defendant a chance at parole, versus a life sentence – or a life sentence when there’s the potential of the death penalty.

If you have been charged with murder, explore all possible defense options. Keep in mind that you’re aiming for the best possible outcome for your situation, whatever that may be.