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Mitigating Evidence and Allocution

Dec. 8, 2021

Being convicted of a crime is no laughing matter. Many crimes carry heavy sentences, some of which you may not want to serve for various personal reasons. It's worth looking at options that are available to you that can help you reduce your sentence when you know that you are facing a guilty plea and there's very little wiggle room between you and an acquittal. At BSS Law, LLC, we encourage our clients in this position to consider mitigating evidence and allocution, two legal procedures that have been very effective at reducing sentences in criminal defense cases. 

Understanding Mitigating Evidence

Mitigating evidence is anything that can be used to show that you are either not at fault or that your record of personal character is exceptional with this one particular instance. For instance, you may provide evidence of emotional and psychological trauma as the cause for a psychological break and the random shooting of people not known to you, or you could show that you have contributed a lot of good to society and to the city around you. The former shows that something in your past caused you to suddenly become momentarily violent, while the latter reflects on the fact that you are otherwise a good and decent person. 

These are just basic examples of what might be presented as mitigating evidence. In your own criminal defense trial mitigating evidence has to be unique to your situation. Your lawyer will help you figure out just what could be used as mitigating evidence to help with your sentencing and reduced punishment.

Understanding Allocution

Allocution is not something you can request at your hearing. It is generally a part of your trial where the judge asks if you have any last words to say in your defense. You are allowed to speak about actions, why you thought you did them, make a sincere apology for your actions, and ask for mercy of the court. If mitigation has already been used as part of your defense, then allocution is your chance to back up your lawyer's presentation of your character and circumstances with your own speech (i.e., allocution, meaning "speech"). 

If there are living victims of your alleged crimes, it is important that part of your allocution be to those that are present. Apologizing to family members of victims, and being sincere in that apology, may help the judge see that you are deserving of a lighter sentence. 

The Right Lawyers and the Right Criminal Defense Approach Make All the Difference

Bradley S. Shepherd of BSS Law, LLC, has had several years experience defending those with criminal charges who face harsh sentences. Using the aforementioned approaches, many clients have been able to serve reduced sentences. In some cases, time served or no further sentencing was the end result. When you hire the right lawyers in Catonsville, MD to defend you, it's life-changing.