What is mitigation and why is it important to your defense?

If facing criminal charges, your naturally hope for an acquittal. If that’s not realistic, or things don’t go your way at trial, focusing on ways to convince the court to be lenient about your sentence can become very important.

This is where mitigation comes into play.

An attorney can use mitigation to make you more human to the court

Mitigation is an approach attorneys often use to try and reduce the sentences given to their clients. They explain to the court a bit more about you and how you ended up in the situation you did. When charged with a serious offense, it can be easy for people to look upon you only as a criminal or a statistic and forget that you too are a human being. 

There are two ways that an attorney can use mitigation. They can highlight good points about you, or they can stress your struggles:

  • Positive mitigation: If you are a devoted family man or woman, a loyal, hardworking citizen or an outstanding community member, this could count in your favor. The aim is to show that your actions were out of character.
  • Negative mitigation: Perhaps you grew up in an abusive household. Maybe you were high on drugs at the time of your crime and did not know what you were doing. Perhaps you have been failed by the system, or maybe you have a history of mental illness, making you less responsible for things you do. The aim here is to show that there are reasons that contributed to your actions

Explaining the mitigating circumstances behind your alleged actions can make a big difference when facing severe criminal charges. It could be the difference between life and death.