What factors can increase the severity of a felony conviction?

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When an individual is arrested and charged with a crime, it can be an extremely overwhelming experience. When convicted of a criminal offense such as a felony, individuals may expect to face significant penalties and consequences. However, there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the court’s decision on determining an appropriate sentence for the crimes that have been committed. Often, the severity of the crime has a huge impact on how the defendant will be sentenced. If there were any aggravating factors present when the crime was committed it could result in additional and harsher penalties. If you have been charged with a felony, contact a trusted and determined Baldwin County Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help represent your interests in court. In addition, please continue reading to learn what factors could determine the severity of a felony conviction.

What are the factors that determine the severity of a felony conviction?

When an individual is charged with a criminal offense, through a hearing, the court will determine their sentencing. The court will evaluate the facts of the case to determine an appropriate sentence for the crime that was committed. Several factors could impact the severity of an individual’s criminal sentence. One of the biggest factors that could affect the severity of a felony conviction is whether there were any aggravating factors. Essentially, aggravating factors refer to the circumstances surrounding a crime. The following could impact the severity of a felony conviction and result in harsher penalties:

  • Whether the defendant has a previous criminal history.
  • Whether the defendant caused serious harm to another.
  • Whether the crime was motivated by a victim’s religion, race, or sex.
  • Whether the defendant used a weapon such as a firearm or a knife.
  • Whether the crime took place in a protected location.
  • Whether the defendant’s crime was associated with a gang.
  • The role that the defendant played in committing the crime if more than one party was involved.
  • The level of danger the crime the defendant committed poses to the public.

The above-listed aggravating factors can all influence the severity of a felony conviction. Furthermore, certain criminal offenses warrant a certain degree of consequences. For instance, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is often classified as a criminal offense. However, if the motorist was driving while intoxicated with a minor child in the vehicle, this can result in additional penalties. In this case, having a minor present in the vehicle at the time of arrest is an aggravating factor. Ultimately, when there are aggravating factors present, the court has the authority to impose harsher penalties.

Unfortunately, numerous aggravating factors could affect the severity of a felony conviction. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our determined and skilled team members. Our firm is committed to helping our clients avoid harsh penalties that have long-term negative effects on their lives.