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Updated by Donald Barrett on Dec 28, 2017
Headline for Mitigating Factors in Florida Criminal Sentencing
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Mitigating Factors in Florida Criminal Sentencing

In Florida, the court may consider a variety of mitigating factors when sentencing criminal defendants. Read on to find out more



If a criminal defendant demonstrates remorse for their actions and the criminal incident at-issue is relatively isolated and unsophisticated, then the court will consider a downward departure in sentencing. Remorse will not count as a mitigating circumstance in situations where the defendant is a repeat offender, for example, but it will likely count as a mitigating circumstance where the defendant is a first-time offender.

Proving remorse is difficult, and requires skillful, experienced advocacy. Consult with a Florida Keys criminal lawyer for guidance on how to navigate sentencing


Youth Offender

If the criminal defendant is a youthful offender, then sentencing may take this factor into account. It’s worth noting, also, that if the defendant was too young at the time to properly appreciate the consequences of their actions, then their youth could have additional mitigating effects on sentencing.



If the defendant was an accomplice, or otherwise participated in a minor role — for example, if the defendant stored illegal items for a co-defendant who was buying and selling such items — then the court may consider a downward departure in sentencing.


Impaired Capacity

Courts have the discretionary power to depart from sentencing if the defendant lacked a full and functional capacity for understanding the wrongful and criminal nature of their actions.


Mental Disorder

If a defendant suffers from a mental disorder, it may constitute a mitigating factor in Florida sentencing. It’s worth noting, however, that a mental disorder will only constitute a mitigating factor if the defendant requires specialized treatment for the disorder, and if the disorder is unrelated to substance abuse, addiction, or a physical disability. Further, the defendant must be open to being treated for their disorder.



The degree to which the defendant cooperated with various state actors (i.e., prosecutors, law enforcement, etc.) can affect sentencing. A highly cooperative defendant will be more likely to have their cooperative tendencies considered as a mitigating factor.



Defendants who engaged in criminal actions while under significant duress may have such duress considered as a mitigating factor during sentencing. For example, if a defendant works as an accomplice to a crime because their co-defendant has threatened their life otherwise, then the defendant has been put under significant duress despite committing a crime (and may have their sentence reduced accordingly).


Compensated Victim

If the defendant’s victim has been substantially compensated (before the defendant’s identity was figured out by state actors, such as law enforcement officers), then the defendant’s sentencing may be reduced.