Sentencing Process - Step three

Step 3: Identify aggravating and mitigating factors

Aggravating factors are facts and circumstances which may make the offence more serious for sentencing purposes. Mitigating factors, including factors personal to the offender, may lead to a less severe sentence being imposed.

Cases may have both aggravating and mitigating factors. Whether any factor has an aggravating or mitigating effect will depend on all of the circumstances of the case. Some aggravating factors can be integral features of certain offences. In such cases, the court will already have reflected this in assessing seriousness at step 1, and they should not be used as a reason for further increasing the sentence.

Step 4: Determine the headline sentence