gavel on marble background

What Are Aggravating Factors in a Felony Crime?

Whether you’re guilty of an alleged crime or not, discovering you’ve been charged with a felony offense can have serious implications on your life. Not only do you face time in prison, but a criminal charge will remain on your permanent record, resulting in denied job opportunities, social ramifications, and housing issues. As such, it’s essential to understand everything that can impact the outcome of your case, including aggravating factors. The following blog explores what you must know about these circumstances and how a Peoria County criminal defense lawyer can assist you when facing charges.

What Warrants a Felony?

Generally, felony charges are reserved for violent crimes against people or property. These often come with hefty fines and, at minimum, one year in prison. When most people think of a “serious” crime, it is likely charged as a felony offense.

Arson, theft, and sexual assault are all classified as felonies, among other offenses. However, non-violent crimes like forgery and trafficking of firearms also constitute a felony.

What Are Aggravating Factors?

Aggravating factors are circumstances of your crime that can impact the severity of the sentence you face. These details are not necessary to convict you of your crime but could make the courts take your actions more seriously, issuing a harsher sentence.

Examples of aggravating factors include the following:

  • Whether or not the defendant has a previous criminal record
  • If the victim has a physical disability
  • If the victim is a child or senior citizen
  • If a child witnessed the crime
  • If the crime was in relation to gang-activity
  • If the crime was motivated by race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion (referred to as hate crimes)
  • Where the offense occurred (a place of worship, hospital, school, etc.)
  • If the crime involved a weapon

These factors may increase the sentence you face. For example, if you are facing an armed robbery charge, you may receive the maximum penalty if your victim is a disabled senior citizen. This is because most crimes have a minimum and maximum sentence, so the factors surrounding the case can influence the penalties someone faces when convicted.

If I’m Facing a Felony Crime, What Should I Do?

When facing a felony crime, it’s essential to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer can examine your case and may be able to present mitigating factors. These are the opposite of aggravating factors, as they are circumstances that lessen the severity of your case. For example, your lawyer may be able to prove that another person was responsible for organizing the crime or that you have a mental illness that impacts your reasoning.

Regardless of whether or not there are any mitigating factors, you still need an attorney to guide you through the complexities of the criminal process. At Giraudo Law, our dedicated legal team has the experience you need to help you navigate the charges you’re facing. Contact us today to learn how we can represent you.

Website Designed & Managed by