How Do Aggravating and Mitigating Factors Impact a Criminal Case in California?If you have been charged and convicted of a felony offense in California, the judge will consider the mitigating and aggravating factors in your case when determining your punishment.

What are aggravating and mitigating factors? Mitigating factors work in a defendant’s favor when it comes to sentencing; aggravating factors work against them. In most instances, the greater the aggravating factors, the harsher the punishment.

Aggravating Factors

Aggravating factors that could work against you in a criminal court case include:

  • The use of a weapon during the commission of the crime;
  • Threats against witnesses;
  • The theft or destruction of an item of significant monetary value;
  • Great violence or bodily harm was involved;
  • You were on probation or parole when the crime was committed;
  • You have prior convictions. especially prior convictions of increasing seriousness;
  • The vulnerability of your victims;
  • You present a danger to society; and
  • The crime was a hate crime.

Aggravating factors can increase the severity of penalties for a defendant. This includes longer time in jail as well as bigger fines. In addition, a conviction will remain on your permanent record, potentially making it difficult or impossible to qualify for certain occupations, obtain credit, qualify for business loans, or attend the school of your choice. You may even have to register as a sex offender.

Mitigating Factors

Your lawyer will argue the mitigating factors in your case to get a more lenient sentence. Depending on the circumstances, mitigating factors can include:

  • You have no prior criminal record;
  • You were suffering from a mental or physical condition that significantly reduced culpability for the crime;
  • You voluntarily acknowledge wrongdoing for the crime before arrest;
  • The victim was the aggressor;
  • You genuinely believed that your conduct was legal;
  • You made efforts to avoid harming people or property; or
  • You were motivated by a desire to provide necessities for your family.

Speak to an Orange County CA Criminal Defense Attorney Jim Tanizaki

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Orange County, CA, aggravating and mitigating factors will have a big impact on the outcome of your case. You need a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to stress the mitigating factors in your case and provide compelling arguments against the aggravating factors.

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County district attorney turned criminal defense attorney. He knows how mitigating and aggravating factors influence a case and how the prosecutor will use them to get a conviction. His defense strategies take both factors into account. This ability to anticipate and counter the prosecutor’s tactics often results in reduced and even dismissed charges for his clients.

It’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your rights if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony charge in Orange County, CA. Your first step should be to contact the law offices of Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim Tanizaki without delay. You can contact him through our website, or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.