Many times, you have clients facing exposure of more than ten years. What can be done to mitigate these high exposure cases during the pre-plea negotiations? We’ve found that pre-loaded mitigation is very effective in negotiating a plea because the more mitigating factors you provide to the prosecution, the better the offer. One of our attorney clients had a defendant facing a 25-year sentence. The defendant was 19 years old. By performing full mitigation including education, IQ, learning disabilities, special education, home environment, food scarcity issues, lack of medical and dental care, an incarcerated older sibling, evidence of abuse and neglect, family interviews, and highlighting the defendant’s positive work history and good character traits, the attorney was able to negotiate a plea agreement of 12 years. The difference for the defendant was enormous. Instead of spending their best adult years incarcerated, they now have an out-date that will allow them to further their career, have a family, and most likely see their loved ones again. Because mitigation is a powerful tool to decrease a sentence, we are surprised that more attorneys do not use mitigation when negotiating a plea agreement or sentencing. Front-loading mitigation such as rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, and even education can be helpful at sentencing. Our attorney clients can start mentioning restitution, rehabilitation, treatment programs, education completion, community service, and other positive factors before the District Attorney charges the defendant. However, there is no bad time to use mitigation. We recently performed some basic mitigation for a defendant charged with a sex crime. The defendant avoided incarceration by our mitigation work that provided a complete account of his mental health history, interviews with his family and friends, and documentation that his treatment counselor would allow him back into his program. Had we not provided this information, this defendant would have been sentenced to eight years in prison. Mitigation can be used at any point in a defendant’s case. However, we highly advise consulting with us early on in the process so you can use mitigation strategically where it will benefit your client the most. If you are looking to obtain reduced or alternative sentences utilizing effective mitigation, contact the Downward Departure Specialists at 916-224-4680.