Mitigating Circumstances


Also found in: Dictionary, Legal, Wikipedia.
Related to Mitigating Circumstances: Extenuating circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances

 

(circumstances mitigating responsibility), in criminal law, circumstances attending the commission of a crime and indicating that a particular criminal act or the criminal himself is less socially dangerous than would be the case if such circumstances had not existed.

A distinction is made between mitigating circumstances that are an inseparable element of a crime and those that are not an element of a specific crime. Examples of the former are seen in the instance of a murder that takes place when the bounds of necessary defense are exceeded or in that of a premeditated murder that is committed in a state of severe mental agitation. Examples of the latter, listed in the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (art. 38), include prevention by the guilty person of harmful consequences of the crime committed and commission of the crime under the influence of a threat or compulsion.

The types of mitigating circumstances listed in the law are only intended to be examples. The court may in each specific instance recognize as mitigating circumstances other circumstances revealed during proceedings, such as irreproachable conduct of the accused in the past, military or work honors, or serious illness.

If the criminal law sanctions alternatives, then the presence of mitigating circumstances may serve as grounds for assigning the guilty person a milder punishment from among those indicated by the law, such as correctional labor instead of deprivation of freedom, or for applying a punishment that is shorter in duration. The guilty person may even be assigned a different, milder punishment than that provided by law or assigned a punishment below the statutory minimum set as the approved norm in the criminal law.

The presence of mitigating circumstances may in some cases serve as grounds for releasing the guilty person from criminal responsibility, the case then being transferred to a comrades’ court or the guilty person released on surety.

References in periodicals archive ?
Pertinently, even the Supreme Court had on Tuesday held that poverty would be taken as a mitigating circumstance while considering death penalty.
the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances.
There have to be very powerful mitigating circumstances.
There Is no point in me going into the mitigating circumstances - the matter has been dealt with.
Chambers is currently barred from competing in an Olympics under a BOA bylaw which bans athletes convicted of drug offences from the British team unless there are mitigating circumstances.
Sometimes mitigating circumstances, like being a class act, goes a long way when advertisers are looking for athletes who can consistently market and build their brands,'' said David Carter, a sports business professor at USC's Marshall School of Business.
FOR 10 YEARS, social scientists have been studying the effects of "zero tolerance" school policies, which treat any technical infraction as harshly as possible, without regard to mitigating circumstances, the rule breaker's intentions, or proportionality.
Although the Bravo device recorded less acid exposure than did the CPHMS on the first day, the researchers discounted this due to mitigating circumstances such as the capsule's lower sample rate (6 seconds vs.
While self-reliance continues to be a strong national value, mitigating circumstances tempered public attitudes, beginning with the disabled Civil War veterans, on whose behalf the first programs in support of people with disabilities were developed.
It also vastly widened the definition of such felonies and allowed immigration judges no leeway to consider possibly mitigating circumstances.
Maybe I should have brought Paul Scholes and Alan Smith on at half-time and if I was up on a murder charge, those would be my mitigating circumstances.
Clerics also turned toward mitigating circumstances based upon emotion, custom, and ignorance to explain the blasphemous utterance as involuntary.