Aggravating Factors and How They Impact Your Case
When an individual is charged with a crime, he or she is subject to a range of criminal penalties. For example, an individual charged with a Class 2 felony faces three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Relevant details about the individual and the case, such as previous drug convictions on his or her record, can make the court more likely to sentence the defendant to a longer prison term and higher fine within the range of penalties for a Class 2 felony conviction. These details are known as aggravating factors.
Sometimes, an aggravating factor does more than increase the severity of the sentence the defendant faces, it changes his or her charge to a new, more serious charge. An example of this is how the use of a deadly weapon in a physical attack changes the incident from an act of battery, charged as a Class A misdemeanor, to an act of aggravated battery, a felony.
Examples of Aggravating Factors
Any factor about a crime that increases the defendant’s culpability for the offense or the amount of harm the victim suffered can be an aggravating factor. Examples of aggravating factors that can impact a convicted defendant’s sentence are:
- The type of weapon used during an act of battery;
- The amount of planning the defendant put into his or her actions;
- The motivation for the criminal incident, such as racial or religious motivation;
- The defendant’s previous criminal record and responses to previous penalties; and
- The vulnerability of the victim. This could be due to the victim’s age, disability, or relationship with the defendant.
Handling Aggravating Factors Present in your Case
Talk to your lawyer to determine how your case’s aggravating factors could impact your sentence. If your lawyer feels a piece of evidence related to an aggravating factor could unfairly prejudice the jury against you, he or she may move to have it dismissed.
Another strategy for handling aggravating factors present in your case is to direct the court toward the mitigating factors at play. Mitigating factors are the opposite of aggravating factors: they are facts about a case that can reduce the defendant’s sentence, such as the defendant’s lack of a previous criminal record, his or her mental health state at the time of the offense, or the defendant’s low level of involvement with the offense. If there are any mitigating factors that could be worked into your defense strategy, your lawyer can work with you to make effective use of them.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Criminal Defense Lawyer
With many types of criminal charge, aggravating factors are an issue that can impact your case. When you meet with an experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer to start developing your legal defense strategy, discuss any aggravating factors that could be at play in your case. Contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office to discuss your case further and start working on your defense strategy.