What Exactly Are Mitigating Factors in a Criminal Case?

Sometimes, despite a perfect defense strategy, a criminal defendant will be found guilty by a judge or jury. Perhaps the evidence was too convincing, or the prosecution was just fortunate. 

After the jury returns a guilty verdict in a Texas criminal trial, the case moves to the sentencing phase. That does not mean the defense attorney’s job is done. Before the judge hands down the sentence, both sides may present evidence of mitigating or aggravating factors to convince the judge to impose either a stiffer or more lenient sentence. The prosecution may present aggravating factors, and defense counsel should always attempt, at least, to present mitigating factors. 

Attorney Charles A. Banker, III is well experienced in presenting mitigating factors to Texas judges for the benefit of his clients. An effective mitigation strategy could shave years off a prison sentence or thousands of dollars off a criminal fine. Below, we cover the mitigating factors recognized by Texas law. 

List of Mitigating Factors

The burden of proof is on the criminal defendant and defense counsel to show that mitigating factors were present and should result in a lesser sentence. An affirmative finding on multiple mitigating factors could bode well for a Texas defendant’s sentence. However, mitigating factors alone will not vacate a conviction.

Mitigating factors in a Texas criminal case might include: 

  • Having a relatively minor role in the crime; 
  • Acknowledging the extent of the defendant’s wrongdoing;
  • Lacking a criminal record or prior arrests or convictions; 
  • Showing remorse for the defendant’s actions;
  • Suffering past trauma or hardships that contributed to the crime’s commission; 
  • Having a mental or physical impairment; 
  • The victim’s culpability;
  • The defendant’s age or intelligence;
  • Contributing in a positive way to the defendant’s community; or
  • Committing the crime under duress. 

Some of these mitigating factors are written into Texas law, while others have been recognized through case law. This means that courts regularly confront new possibilities when it comes to mitigating factors. As your counsel, Attorney Banker will not hesitate to introduce anything that has a chance of improving your sentence. 

Giving you the best chance at mitigating your sentence means gathering records as soon as possible. Birth certificates, marriage licenses, medical records, employment history, and military honors may all be relevant for your mitigation strategy. We will never sacrifice the effectiveness of your overall defense strategy, but we will be prepared to fight for you every step of the way. 

The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III offers free consultations to anyone needing aggressive and professional defense counsel. Call us at (713) 227-4100 to schedule your appointment.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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