When you are convicted of a crime, you probably think your case is over. However, one of the most important steps comes next: sentencing.
Sentencing is where the court determines the penalties you will face for your conviction. The good news is that if your lawyer is experienced, then he will file a Statement in Mitigation asking the court to give you a lenient sentence.
It is important that before you are sentenced, you are very familiar with how felony sentencing works in California and how a Statement of Mitigation prepared by a lawyer may help you receive a lighter sentence.
How Felony Sentencing Works (PC 1170(b))
Under California Penal Code Section 1170(b), felony offenses carry a lower, middle and upper sentencing term. For instance, if you are convicted of voluntary manslaughter, you face 3, 6 or 11 years in prison. The sentencing term you face is based upon the court’s opinion after reviewing the aggravating factors and mitigating factors surrounding your case.
Before you are sentenced, both the prosecution and defense will have the opportunity to argue for either a light punishment or severe penalties. If the prosecution wishes for a harsh sentence, it can provide the court with a statement highlighting the aggravating factors in a case under California Rules of Court 4.437, such as:
- The nature of the crime
- Whether you have a previous criminal record, or
- If your crime was against a victim that was especially vulnerable, such as an elderly person or a minor
However, under California Rules of Court 4.437, your criminal defense attorney will also be able to provide a Statement of Mitigation that argues that you deserve a light sentence.
What is a Statement of Mitigation? (JCR 4.437)
A Statement of Mitigation is a written statement prepared by your criminal defense attorney that explains why you deserve the lightest possible penalty for your conviction based on the circumstances of your case.
Some of the factors an experienced lawyer might point to in a Statement of Mitigation include:
- You were a passive participant or played a minor role in the crime
- You were provoked by the victim or someone else
- You are unlikely to repeat the crime because the circumstances are unlikely to occur again
- You were induced to commit the crime by others, or acted under coercion or duress, but not to a degree that provides a complete defense
- You committed no physical harm against another, and took measures to ensure the safety of others while the crime was being committed
- You mistakenly believed your conduct was legal
- Your crime was for the purpose of providing life necessities for yourself or others; and/or
- You suffer from a history of physical, mental, or sexual abuse that does not excuse the crime but explains your behavior.
A Statement of Mitigation is for the purpose of attempting to decrease the harshness of the penalty you will face as a result of your conviction. It is not an opportunity to defend against the criminal charges. The court will expect you to show remorse for your actions.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, you have the right to appeal. You can find more information about your appellate rights here.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
A well-written Statement of Mitigation could help you receive the best possible outcome in your case. That is why you should consult with an experienced sentencing attorney at Wallin & Klarich about crafting a Statement of Mitigation that will persuade the court to give you a light sentence.
Our lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have more than 40 years of experience successfully helping people at all phases of the criminal justice process. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.