Mitigating Factors

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What Is a Mitigating Factor?

In criminal law, a mitigating factor serves to decrease the penalties associated with a criminal act. For example, if the defendant is very young or has a low mental capacity, then he or she may not have understood the nature of his or her criminal actions. By presenting age and mental capacity as mitigating factors to the crime, the penalties associated with the crime may decrease. Often, if a defendant is found mentally incompetent, he or she may be sent to a mental hospital instead of a jail or prison.

What Are Some Examples of Mitigating Factors?

What can be considered a mitigating factor is determined by statue. Thus, what can be considered a mitigating factor varies widely by jurisdiction. Some examples of commonly accepted factors include:

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Last Modified: 10-10-2015 08:11 AM PDT

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