Florida is notorious for its use of mandatory minimum sentences, but many criminal charges don’t carry mandatory minimums at all. In those cases, judges often have a tremendous amount of leeway when it comes to sentencing.
This is where mitigation comes in. If it isn’t possible to get your charges dropped and you either don’t win at trial or decide to accept a plea deal, mitigation can become important. Anything that serves to soften the court’s view of your crime and cut you a break can be a mitigating factor in your case.
Florida law provides some examples of mitigation
While not an exhaustive list, Section 921.0026 of the Florida Statutes does give you a glimpse into the factors that are likely to weigh heavily in the court’s mind before sentencing.
That includes things like:
- You were merely an accomplice to the crime and your role was minor
- Your ability to understand the gravity and criminal nature of your actions was substantially impaired (although not due to voluntary drug or alcohol use)
- You have a mental disorder that requires treatment and you’re willing to get it
- Your offense was isolated, committed in an “unsophisticated manner” and you’re remorseful.
- You acted under extreme duress or while in the control of another person.
- The victim was the primary aggressor, provoked your actions, initiated the conflict or was a willing participant in your actions.
- Keeping you out of jail would allow you to remain gainfully employed and pay restitution to your victim (and that seems to outweigh the need to punish you by incarceration).
Your defense may also point to things like your youth, the fact that it was your first offense, personal stressors in your home life or career, your value to your community or family and other factors that can highlight positive areas of your life.
When you’re in trouble with the law, you need a strong criminal defense
When you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s scary. Your future is uncertain. Put your faith in an experienced defender right away.