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New Jersey Sentencing Factors

If you have been convicted of an offense in New Jersey, the Court should considered what are called "aggravating" and "mitigating" factors in determining your sentence. These can become very important, particularly in a case where there is not an agreement between you and the prosecutor as to what the sentence should be. Having an attorney who can effectively argue these factors can greatly reduce your sentence. You should review these factors and also provide any documentation to your attorney that might present "mitigating" information that could result in a reduced sentence. You should also speak with your attorney about anything else you believe may be relevant to your sentence, to ensure the Court fully understands your matter and your personal history so that you can receive the most favorable sentence possible. Each of these factors are listed below:

Aggravating Factors

(1)The nature and circumstances of the offense, and the role of the actor therein, including whether or not it was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner;

(2)The gravity and seriousness of harm inflicted on the victim, including whether or not the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim of the offense was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, ill-health, or extreme youth, or was for any other reason substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance;

(3)The risk that the defendant will commit another offense;

(4)A lesser sentence will depreciate the seriousness of the defendant's offense because it involved a breach of the public trust under chapters 27 and 30, or the defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense;

(5)There is a substantial likelihood that the defendant is involved in organized criminal activity;

(6)The extent of the defendant's prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses of which he has been convicted;

(7)The defendant committed the offense pursuant to an agreement that he either pay or be paid for the commission of the offense and the pecuniary incentive was beyond that inherent in the offense itself; (8)The defendant committed the offense against a police or other law enforcement officer, correctional employee or fireman, acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; the defendant committed the offense because of the status of the victim as a public servant; or the defendant committed the offense against a sports official, athletic coach or manager, acting in or immediately following the performance of his duties or because of the person's status as a sports official, coach or manager;

(9)The need for deterring the defendant and others from violating the law;

(10) The offense involved fraudulent or deceptive practices committed against any department or division of State government;

(11) The imposition of a fine, penalty or order of restitution without also imposing a term of imprisonment would be perceived by the defendant or others merely as part of the cost of doing business, or as an acceptable contingent business or operating expense associated with the initial decision to resort to unlawful practices;

(12) The defendant committed the offense against a person who he knew or should have known was 60 years of age or older, or disabled; and

(13) The defendant, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Mitigating Factors

(1)The defendant's conduct neither caused nor threatened serious harm;

(2)The defendant did not contemplate that his conduct would cause or threaten serious harm;

(3)The defendant acted under a strong provocation;

(4)There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or justify the defendant's conduct, though failing to establish a defense;

(5)The victim of the defendant's conduct induced or facilitated its commission;

(6)The defendant has compensated or will compensate the victim of his conduct for the damage or injury that he sustained, or will participate in a program of community service;

(7)The defendant has no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the commission of the present offense;

(8)The defendant's conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur;

(9)The character and attitude of the defendant indicate that he is unlikely to commit another offense;

(10) The defendant is particularly likely to respond affirmatively to probationary treatment;

(11) The imprisonment of the defendant would entail excessive hardship to himself or his dependents;

(12) The willingness of the defendant to cooperate with law enforcement authorities;

(13) The conduct of a youthful defendant was substantially influenced by another person more mature than the defendant.

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