During criminal defense cases in Florida, the court will hand down a sentence to a defendant who is deemed guilty. However, there may be certain factors that impact sentencing. If you are facing criminal charges and a conviction, it’s important to know about these factors and how your sentence could be affected.
What mitigating factors can affect sentencing?
There are certain factors that can mitigate sentencing in theft or general criminal defense cases. The judge will consider circumstances such as the following:
- Whether the defendant is a first-time offender or a repeat offender
- Whether the defendant aided and abetted another person who was the main offender
- Whether the defendant committed the crime under duress or extreme personal stress
- Whether another person was injured and if the crime was committed in such a way that it was unlikely anyone else would suffer injury
- Whether the defendant was particularly cruel to a victim during the offense
- Whether the defendant was genuinely remorseful for the crime
Can the defendant’s own words impact sentencing in a criminal case?
In a theft or general criminal defense case, the defendant has the opportunity to speak before the judge hands down a sentence. The defendant can have their defense attorney speak, but the defendant can speak on their own behalf if they wish to do so. The judge may ask the defendant if they wish to make a statement to the court. This can include anything that may potentially mitigate the sentence they receive.
While this potentially gives the defendant a chance to have their sentence reduced, there are also laws that allow victims to make statements to the court. In some cases, they may even ask the court to give the defendant a sentence that isn’t very harsh.