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What Are Aggravating Factors And How Do They Impact A Criminal Case?


If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, certain details can impact how you are charged and, if convicted, how severe the penalties you will face will be. Aggravating factors is a term used to describe characteristics of a person’s life and their crime that can enhance their charges or penalties.

For instance, let’s say you threatened someone. This may be charged as assault. An assault charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with penalties including up to 60 days in jail, as long as six months of probation, and a $500 fine. But, if you threatened someone and were holding a weapon like a gun, the charges against you can be elevated to aggravated assault. The addition of the weapon is the aggravating factor. As a result, aggravated assault is charged as a third-degree felony with penalties including as long as five years served in state prison and a fine as high as $5,000.

As you can see, aggravating factors can have a considerable impact on one’s charges and one’s sentence. If you were arrested for a crime in Florida, you must get in touch with an experienced attorney to better understand the extent of your charges and the potential consequences that can come with them. At Joshi Law Firm, PA, our Orlando criminal defense attorneys can evaluate your case and determine the best strategy to secure the most favorable outcome.

Aggravating Factors in Florida that Can Enhance Charges and Penalties 

There is the crime. Then there are other details of the crime that are used to figure out what the correct charges should be and what the appropriate penalties are. Aggravating factors are the details that make the crime more severe. For example, the following are considered aggravating factors:

  • The use of a weapon when committing a crime.
  • The type of weapon that is used to commit a crime.
  • A defendant’s criminal history.
  • If the defendant had the intent to commit the crime.
  • Who the victim was and their age.
  • The extent of the damage and harm that the crime inflicted.
  • If the defendant is remorseful about their behavior and actions.
  • If the defendant has the ability to be rehabilitated.

When breaking down the significance of aggravating factors, the issue of relevance comes into play. For instance, looking at the crime and using the defendant’s criminal background as an aggravating factor can only be done if there is relevance between the two. An individual that had a prior conviction for distributing drugs may have this impact on their current charges for potential involvement in an organized human trafficking ring. But, a previous drug distribution conviction may not be that relevant if the current charges are for assaulting a domestic partner for alleged infidelity.

Call a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

A crime committed without aggravating factors may come with less jail time or even no time in jail and instead probation. By contrast, the same offense with aggravating factors may result in a much longer prison sentence and high fines. It is imperative to understand the full extent of your charges and to have a lawyer prepared to defend you against all allegations that could result in harsh penalties.

Call the Orlando criminal defense lawyer at Joshi Law Firm, PA, today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your criminal case at (407) 661-1109.

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