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What Are Aggravating Factors in Crimes?

When you’ve been charged with a crime, there are many different factors that determine the types of punishments you can receive. One of the most important distinctions in criminal charges comes between misdemeanor-level charges, which are generally viewed as relatively less serious offenses, and felony offenses, which are generally the most serious.

While a court takes into consideration the classification of the offense when meting out punishment, there are other factors that may also be considered. Aggravating factors, for example, are ones that might increase both the severity of the crime and the level of punishment.

Read on to learn about some of the most common aggravating factors in crimes, and when you’re ready, speak with a criminal defense lawyer near you.

Examples of Aggravating Factors in a Crime

Aggravating factors are those that can increase the penalties for a criminal conviction in sentencing. The prosecution, which represents the side of the state or nation, often argues that aggravating factors merit longer jail sentences or other forms of enhanced punishments.

Aggravating factors can come in many different forms. Some of these can automatically raise the level of a crime—for example, from a misdemeanor-level offense to a felony.

An example of this is when a DWI in Texas—which is normally a second-degree misdemeanor—is escalated to a felony offense when committed while transporting a minor under the age of 15 in your car.

There are also general factors that can lead the prosecution to seek a higher punishment. Some examples include:

  • Having a previous criminal record
  • Having repeated instances of similar offenses
  • Using a weapon in the commission of a crime
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm
  • Playing a leading role in a crime involving multiple parties
  • Committing a hate crime against a minority group or other protected class

If you’re at risk of receiving an enhanced punishment due to aggravating factors, engaging with an experienced attorney becomes even more important.

Reach Out to a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Aggravating factors can make relatively minor offenses result in life-changing punishments. Contact a criminal defense lawyer with Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. to protect your rights to a robust criminal defense.

Call 214-665-6930 or fill out the form below for more information.


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