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What Are Mitigating Factors in an Arizona DUI Case?

Posted on December 16, 2022 in Criminal Defense,Defense Strategies,DUI

If you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona, your case may involve mitigating or aggravating factors. Both could drastically change your sentence if found guilty of this crime. Mitigating factors are a good thing – they lessen the severity of the crime and could reduce your sentence. A DUI defense attorney in Scottsdale can help you understand how mitigating factors might impact your sentencing hearing.

What Are Mitigating Factors?

The definition of mitigating is to lessen the severity of something or make something less serious. In criminal law, a mitigating factor is an element of a case that could reduce the defendant’s sentence, as it lessens the severity of the defendant’s actions or alleged crime. A judge may consider mitigating factors during sentencing. A judge may also consider aggravating factors, which do the opposite. Aggravating factors make a crime more severe or harmful, often resulting in a harsher sentence.

Examples of Mitigating Factors in a DUI Case

In a DUI case in Arizona, several mitigating factors could potentially reduce the severity of the offense by lessening the defendant’s culpability. In other words, certain factors can reduce a defendant’s responsibility or blameworthiness for a crime or act of wrongdoing. Mitigation could be any type of evidence that pertains to the defendant’s character, propensity to commit a DUI offense or the circumstances of the crime.  

Arizona law recognizes six mitigating factors that can be used in non-capital felony offenses (including DUI cases):

  • The defendant’s age
  • The defendant’s ability to recognize that he or she did something wrong or broke a law
  • The possibility of the defendant being under unusual and substantial duress
  • The extent of the defendant’s role in committing the crime
  • Whether the defendant stopped to help the victim after a car accident, if applicable
  • The defendant’s support in his or her community, family or religion

Whether or not a case involves mitigating factors depends on the circumstances. In Scottsdale, a DUI defense attorney can examine your case to identify any mitigating factors that may reduce the penalties you face. If your mental capacity, employment history, military service, remorse, personal history, lack of a criminal record or anything else is relevant to your case, your lawyer may be able to use this to your benefit as a mitigating factor. 

How to Use Mitigating Factors to Your Advantage 

An experienced criminal defense attorney in Arizona will be able to carefully review your DUI case to search for any mitigating factors that may help your case. Your lawyer will look for ways to show that you are of good moral character, for example, or point out that you have no prior criminal history. An attorney will stay by your side throughout the criminal justice process, protecting your rights in every way possible.

If your DUI case does have mitigating factors, your lawyer can use this as a negotiation tool. Your lawyer may be able to secure a better plea deal from the prosecutor, for example, using mitigation. In other cases, pointing out mitigating factors to a judge could reduce your DUI sentence. Rather than having to spend time in jail, for example, mitigating factors could result in detainment at home or probation.

Based on the circumstances, mitigating factors could have significant power in an Arizona DUI case. For example, if you are facing aggravated felony DUI charges as a first-time offender, mitigating factors could reduce your potential prison sentence from eight years and nine months to two years. Mitigating factors can mean that a judge imposes the minimum or mitigated prison term rather than the aggravated term or maximum sentence.

To learn more about how mitigating factors may help your DUI case in Arizona, contact Rosenstein Law Group to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.

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