No case is truly hopeless. Even if it seems that a conviction is inevitable, an attorney may be able to take actions that could lead to a dismissal or an acquittal at trial. There are a plethora of legal rules regarding what evidence can and cannot be introduced at trial. The constitution also governs quite a bit of what police officers can and cannot do. This is why every criminal case should be thoroughly assessed by a lawyer. However, even if it does turn out that you are convicted of a crime, or you take a plea bargain, your lawyer’s job is not done. Each criminal offense carries a range of possible penalties, including jail. A good defense attorney can make strong arguments that the lightest possible sentencing is appropriate in your case and in some cases, even avoid a conviction on your record. This could mean the difference between a clean criminal record, probation or years in prison.
What is Mitigation at Sentencing?
Before the judge decides on a sentence, your attorney will have the opportunity to present any mitigating factors that make the crime less serious than the charge may suggest. Mitigation also includes certain factors that may suggest to a court that you do not deserve harsh sentencing. Mitigation factors used in Illinois include:
- Provocation – If your crime involved an assault, your attorney may be able to show that the victim provoked you. This can suggest that your conduct was not that serious, as you were reacting to the victim’s actions.
- Compensation – If you are willing to compensate the victim for whatever harm you caused to them, this shows the judge that you are remorseful and trying to make it right.
- Mental illnesses / Alcohol Drug – If you have a serious mental illness that falls short of an insanity defense but still impacts your ability to control or understand the consequences of your actions, this may influence sentencing. Likewise use of drugs and alcohol and your mitigation of these issues by seeking treatment, can work in your favor
- Unlikely to re-offend – If your general attitude and evidence of your character suggest that you are not likely to commit more crimes, you may be given a less harsh sentence. Similarly, if the circumstances under which you broke the law were odd and not likely to happen again, this can suggest that you do not need a conviction or jail time.
- Likely to comply with probation and the court sentence – If you have generally been cooperative with the criminal justice process, such as by making all required appearances and complying with pretrial services, the court may believe that you would obey the terms of your probation.
These are just a few of the many mitigating factors that can affect sentencing. Good mitigation arguments can be the key to avoiding a conviction or minimizing jail time.
Call a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. fights hard for every criminal defendant we represent. Our dedicated Joliet criminal defense lawyers will do everything in our power to avoid a conviction or to minimize any sentencing. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.