Using weapons during the commission of a crime can result in enhanced sentences. This enhancement is typically referred to as "aggravated." So it could become "aggravated assault" or "aggravated robbery." When a crime is aggravated, it means that you face stiffer penalties should you be found guilty. You may also face additional charges if the weapon you are using is not registered or is not legal. This article will go over how a charge can be "aggravated" and what that means for you.
There are four ways in which a crime can become "aggravated:"
- If you used a deadly weapon, like a gun.
- If you caused a serious injury.
- If the intent of perpetrator was to cause serious harm or death.
- If the victim is a specially protected person, like a police officer or pregnant woman.
It also goes without saying that a combination of these factors present in a single crime can also give rise to an "aggravated" charge.
A deadly weapon being present during a crime automatically raises the crime to "aggravated" regardless if the weapon was utilized or not. Deadly weapons are generally anything that can cause serious injury or death, guns. Additionally, if you use a weapon during the commission of a crime and it accidentally discharges causing injury to the victim or a bystander, which would also result in an aggravated enhancement. Guns usually don't cause light-injuries therefore just about any time someone is shot, it is serious.
The court will also consider your intent. If you went into the crime intending to cause serious harm or death then an aggravated enhancement will probably also be considered. The court will infer intent based upon your actions, like committing a crime with a loaded gun or practicing with the same gun days before the crime.
If you are facing an "aggravated" charge then you will probably want to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Aggravated enhancements can result in significantly steeper penalties such as: increased prison sentences, fines, restitution and longer probation periods.