In Missouri, a criminal case can end three different ways. By plea, trial, or dismissal. If you are subject to sentencing by a judge, there are several different sentencing factors that a judge might use.
Generally, these sentencing factors are split into two categories: Aggravating factors and mitigating factors. An experienced criminal defense attorney should go through these factors with his or her client. These can be used not only for sentencing arguments and expectations, but for plea negotiations with the prosecutor.
Aggravating Sentencing Factors
The defendant was armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon during the commission of the event or during the arrest
The defendant caused severe financial loss to the victim of the offense
The defendant made or expected to make a substantial financial gain from the offense
The defendant has caused severe physical or emotional trauma to the victim of the offense
The defendant committed the offense while under supervision/probation/parole for another charge
Mitigating Factors in Sentencing
The defendant has made or is making restitution to the victim
In drug cases, the defendant has shown a commitment to treatment of an underlying addiction
The defendant used caution to avoid risk of injury or financial loss to others
The defendant has had substantial crime free period prior to the commission of the current offense
The defendant has taken steps since the commission of the crime that will reduce the risk of breaking the law again (school/training/employment)
Sentencing Arguments by Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is important that all factors of mitigation be explored early in any case by a criminal attorney so that they can be used in negotiation and sentencing preparation should the case go that route. If you are under investigation for a crime or have already been charged, contact a H|W attorney to begin your defense immediately.