If you have been charged with a crime, you are probably concerned about the potential of going to jail and ending up with a criminal record. In examining criminal offenses, judges and prosecutors will probe into the circumstances of the crime to determine what level of punishment is appropriate.
A factor can be aggravating, mitigating, or neutral. If a factor is aggravating, it can increase the potential punishment if you are convicted. A mitigating factor may decrease potential punishment, while neutral circumstances won’t have any effect.
An aggravating factor is a circumstance in a case that can cause harsher punishment by a judge. Aggravating factors are typically things that cause additional harm or put others at risk of harm.
Equally, a mitigating factor is a circumstance in a case that can cause a lighter punishment by a judge. Mitigating factors are typically things that show a defendant deserves a break from the court. Examples of mitigating factors include being a first-time offender or conduct that did not cause harm to anyone.
In the state of Arizona, felony sentencing is largely mandatory and set by state sentencing guidelines. In determining what the appropriate sentence will be for a case, a judge will examine all of the relevant facts and circumstances in a case. In Arizona, this includes a list of 27 aggravating factors that are set by state statute.
They are as follows:
Any combination of these factors can be used to increase prison time for someone who is being sentenced on a felony offense in Arizona.
It is important to gather as much information as you can when you are facing criminal charges. While finding a website such as ours may help you answer some general questions, online research should never take the place of professional legal advice. If you have questions about how aggravating factors can affect your current case, then call a Phoenix criminal defense attorney for help.