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How Does Federal Sentencing Work

November 2, 2020 New Jersey Criminal Lawyers

If you are found guilty of an offense in New Jersey, the judge will not jump into making a verdict without considering certain factors. That is in line with the review in 2004 by the New Jersey commission concerning sentencing guidelines. That’s because, in specific past scenarios, the defendants’ rights during a verdict were often ignored.


The review aimed to promote fairness and equality when the judge is delivering the final decision. That’s also to protect public safety so that nothing gets out of hand.


Today, if you commit a crime in New Jersey and found guilty, the presiding judge will make a decision considering crucial factors. The factors are what will determine if the offense will be severe or fair. This article focuses on such considerations. Keep reading to gain insights.


What are the factors?


It is essential to understand the factors because they play a crucial role in your final verdict. There are only two factors, which are;


· Aggravating Factors and Mitigating factors


Aggravating factors support severe sentences while Mitigating factors to promote favorable rulings or less severe verdict. To fall on the optimistic side, you need to have an attorney who understands the basics of determining the final judgment. Below is a recap of the Aggravating and Mitigating factors to make you know better.


Aggravating Factors: The severe ones


Before making the decision, the judge will consider the level intensity of the victim’s harm. If it is severe, the defendant is likely to face severe consequences too.


Furthermore, the judge will figure out if the defendant was knowledgeable of the victim’s condition at the time of the offense. For instance, the victim’s age and health condition play a significant role in the case’s direction.


Also, the judge will consider the role played by the defendant in committing the said crime. If it’s found that he/she played an active role, that will call for severe measures. The judge will also take into account other aggravating factors such as the past criminal record of the defendant and if the offense committed was intentional or not.


If a vehicle were used at the time of the crime, the judge would want to know if it was legally acquired or illegal methods were used. Additionally, the court will want to know if the offense was a domestic type. If it were, the court would figure out if it was committed in front of the children or not. The involvement of a public servant in the offense as a victim will also call for dire consequences.


The judge may consider deterring the defendant, especially if there are no signs of denial for the crime committed. Also, the court will want to know if the defendant will consider a fine in the case. Above are the necessities you need to know about aggravating factors vital in New Jersey, especially if you or your friends are involved in an offense.


Here are the Mitigating Factors


Even though most factors relating to New Jersey cases are often severe, some positives can favor the defendant, especially during the final verdict. Thanks to the move by the New Jersey Commission to review the factors. If it were not for that, the fairness we see in the courtrooms today couldn’t have been there.


Let’s get started


Some of the positive factors include; if the defendant was strongly offended by the victim. The judge will also consider if the victim was not harmed intentionally by the defendant. Furthermore, the judge will want to know if the defendant wasn’t aware that the committed act would have caused serious harm.


What is the positive side?


The defendant may get relief if the court realizes that the factors are correct. However, if it’s found that the defendant’s history is dented with criminal acts of similar nature, then the verdict might not be in his/her favor. The judge will also figure out if the offender was actively involved in the crime. If no, the court might order the offender to participate in less strenuous activities such as community activities.


The positive side of the factors is that they make the court consider if the judgment to be delivered will negatively impact the offender during the imprisonment period and whether his/her dependents will be negatively affected by the verdict.


Above are the factors that determine the kind of verdict and the nature of hardship it might impose on the defendant. Remember, the judges always have well-described aggravating factors when hearing the case. Therefore you need to have an attorney who will represent you well and ensure that all the mitigating factors are given keen consideration. Otherwise, if that is not done, you may lose the case.




You need to comprehend the above information well because you don’t know when you will be involved in one. The advantage is that if you understand them, not even your attorney will misguide you during the case. You can also check for further guidance here.



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