Facts surrounding the commission of a crime that work to mitigate or lessen it.
Extenuating circumstances render a crime less evil or reprehensible. They do not lower the degree of an offense, although they might reduce the punishment imposed.
Extenuating circumstances might include extraordinary circumstances, which are unusual factors surrounding an event, such as the very young age of a defendant in a murder case.
West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
n. surrounding factors (sometimes called mitigation) which make a crime appear less serious, less aggravated, or without criminal intent, and thus warranting a more lenient punishment or lesser charge (manslaughter rather than murder, for example). (See: mitigating circumstances)
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