mitigating circumstance

noun

: a circumstance in the commission of an act that lessens the degree of criminal culpability
was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder because of mitigating circumstances
also : a circumstance or factor relating to an offense or defendant that does not bear on the question of culpability but that receives consideration by the court especially in lessening the severity of a sentence
the mitigating circumstance of the defendant's terminal illness
compare aggravating circumstance

Dictionary Entries Near mitigating circumstance

Cite this Entry

“Mitigating circumstance.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/mitigating%20circumstance. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!