Getting legal help
Circumstances LAO may consider before making a decision
LAO understands that every personís situation is unique. LAO staff may ask you some questions about what you are accused of doing to see if there are aggravating or mitigating circumstances in your situation.
What is a mitigating circumstance?
A mitigating circumstance is a situation where the courts may provide you with mercy or fairness in sentencing if convicted of a crime.
Let's say you are a homeless person who has broken into an empty house while looking for a place to sleep. You did this because of your need for shelter. This is a mitigating circumstance.
What is an aggravating circumstance?
An aggravating circumstance is one that makes your offense more serious and therefore makes it more likely that you will go to jail.
If you and a group of young people are charged with a crime committed together, for instance, and you are the only adult, the court may view you as the group's leader, and blame you more than the youth.
The chart below includes the legal terms for the circumstances it describes. You may need to ask a lawyer for a less complicated explanation.
|Mitigating circumstances||One aggravating circumstance||Two or more aggravating circumstances|
You may be eligible for legal aid if you are charged with a crime and your circumstances include one of these aggravating factors:
You may be eligible for legal aid if you have no mitigating circumstances, but your circumstances include two or more of these aggravating factors: