If you’re charged with a serious offense, it’s only natural to hope that your attorney will eventually find a way to have the charges dismissed or you’ll be successful at trial.
What if that doesn’t happen? If you lose at trial or you take a plea deal, mitigation may suddenly become critical to your defense.
What is mitigation?
Mitigation is essentially anything that can be used to encourage the court to show some leniency when it considers your sentence.
Depending on the situation, mitigation can sometimes lessen the amount of time you have to serve in jail or even get you probation instead of jail time.
What kinds of mitigation can you use in your defense?
There are basically two kinds of mitigation tactics to take:
- Positive: This is anything good about you or the case that tends to soften the impact of the crime. For example, your attorney may point to the fact that you paid restitution, that nobody was seriously injured, that you’ve admitted to your mistakes, that you’ve sought therapy, that you’re an integral part of your family, the good you do in your community and other factors.
- Negative: This is anything bad that may have affected your ability to make good decisions and led to your mistakes. For example, your attorney may talk about how you were the victim of abuse, that you suffered from an untreated mental disorder, that you were under tremendous personal or professional pressure, etc.
Mitigation doesn’t excuse your action — but it does help the court see them in context. That can make a lot of difference when it comes to sentencing.
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, don’t try to handle the situation on your own. This is the time to involve an experienced defense attorney as fast as possible.