Mitigation is any information about the Defendant or the crime that can be used to bring about a favorable outcome including reduced charges or a lighter sentence. For example, if it can be shown that the Defendant has good family ties or a traumatic childhood then that can be considered by the Judge at sentencing. The purpose of mitigation is to show the Court or the District Attorney’s Office that the Defendant is deserving of mercy and should not be defined by this one bad chapter in their life.
How is it Used?
There are many situations where mitigation can be an invaluable tool for the attorney to have. However, some of the most common situations where mitigation is used are:
- To help get a lighter sentence;
- To convince the prosecution to offer a good plea deal;
- To get out on bail or have bail lowered; or
- To get admitted into an alternative disposition program such as A.R.D.
When Should I Begin Gathering Mitigation?
It is always important to consult your attorney about whether or not mitigation should be gathered and if so, what types of mitigation would be useful for them to have. It is also important that the attorney for the Defendant be the only one to decide if and when mitigation should be delivered to the Court or District Attorney’s Office. Failure to consult and abide by the recommendations of the attorney may result in more difficulty during representation or unexpected consequences.
What are the Different Types of Mitigation?
There is a wide variety of mitigation that is useful for a defense attorney to have.
Character letters are the most common form of mitigation. These are letters from family, friends, and loved ones that give insight into the character of the Defendant. For example, the parents of a Defendant may want to write a letter detailing their child’s history of helping around the house or aiding those in need.
Evidence of Treatment or Counseling
If the Defendant has taken part in any type of treatment or counseling program then any evidence of that including certificates of completion can be very helpful for the attorney to have. Common examples of these treatment or counseling programs include:
- Anger Management
- Drug Treatment
- Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Employment or School Records
Showing the Defendant is gainfully employed or currently enrolled in school can be very useful in showing the Court or Prosecution that they do not intend to live a life of crime.
The following are examples of documents that can be helpful to pass along to the attorney:
- Letter from an employer or school official
- Pay Stubs
- School Transcripts
- Diploma if recently graduated
It is also very helpful for the Court or District Attorney’s Office to know about the family structure of the Defendant. For instance, if the Defendant is the primary financial provider of the family then that would be a strong argument against incarceration as incarceration would not only punish the Defendant but their family as well.
Any Other Mitigating Documents
Given that every Defendant has unique circumstances and backgrounds, it is impossible to suggest every piece of mitigating evidence that should be provided. It’s always suggested that you reach out to the attorney or their staff to inquire as to what other information would be helpful.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges or are pursuing an expungement/pardon then it can be crucial to have a law firm by your side that emphasizes mitigation and uses it to paint a full picture of the Defendant’s life story. Here at Liberty Law Team, we believe all of our clients are more than just their charges or convictions. If you feel our team’s mentality would be beneficial to your case then make sure to give our office a callor fill out the contact form on our website. We look forward to working with you and gathering mitigation.