The factors that may affect criminal sentencing vary by jurisdiction, but many legal systems include a set of guidelines for sentencing that include a minimum and maximum sentence that may be imposed. Within that range, the facts of the crime are often taken into consideration when determining what punishment might constitute fair sentencing. Different people might recommend different sentences for the same crime, and the same crime performed by different offenders might warrant different sentences. Criminal sentencing is a subjective practice, not a process that can be mathematically determined.
First and foremost, the type of crime committed affects criminal sentencing. Almost always, more severe crimes result in more severe punishments. Violent crimes are often punished more harshly than crimes like possession of drugs or theft, although there are some exceptions. Facts about how the crime was committed might affect criminal sentencing. Crimes that pose little risk to human beings whether or not actual violence was involved are usually punished as harshly as those where violence is necessary.
It is important to note that different judges might be harsher than others, and different areas are more inclined to punish certain crimes more harshly. Current events, politics, and even the mood of the judge can all be factors that affect sentencing indirectly. In some cases, the talent of a person's lawyer might affect sentencing, although almost no amount of negotiation or political manipulation can mitigate a particularly serious sentence.
Usually, the age of the criminal and the number of previous offenses has some effect on criminal sentencing. Young perpetrators and first-time offenders are often treated with leniency. People who commit the same crime repeatedly are usually punished particularly harshly, and in some cases a repeat offender might have a very harsh minimum sentence. In some cases, a crime can be so severe that the age of the criminal does not warrant a lenient sentence, but even in these cases age is taken into account.
Other factors, such as why the crime was committed, are usually not considered during criminal sentencing except in extremely rare cases. Sometimes, cooperating with police and informing on other criminals may reduce a sentence, although these deals usually involve taking a plea bargain of some sort. It is unusual for a criminal's body to affect criminal sentencing explicitly, but many people allege that people of certain races, genders, or associations may receive preferential treatment during sentencing. When it is clear that discriminatory sentencing has occurred, there may be room for a change to the sentence.