Being charged with any crime has the potential to seriously upset your life, even if it seems like a minor offense. This can be especially true if your case involves aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors, or elements of the alleged crime for which you are charged that make the offense more severe, can affect the charges against you and the potential sentence you face if you plead guilty or are convicted. In this post, we will examine some of the more common aggravating factors that can lead to escalated charges and penalties.
For example, if you are arrested in Illinois for possession of an illegal drug, your situation could go from bad to worse if:
- This isn’t your first drug-related offense
- There are large quantities of drugs involved
- The drug involved is among the most dangerous drugs under state and federal laws
- You played a primary role, as opposed to being an accessory
- There are minors and/or other vulnerable people involved
- You are accused of committing the crime at or near a school
- There was violence involved
- Actions were particularly cruel or harmful
These could all lead to additional charges or escalated charges, which come with more severe penalties. So, an offense that would have been considered a misdemeanor could change or be filed in addition to felony charges if any of the above-mentioned factors were in play.
With this in mind, it can be crucial to understand that part of an effective criminal defense strategy could include challenging these aggravating factors in an effort to seek reduced or dismissed charges. Working with an attorney experienced in defending against drug crimes if you have been accused of these offenses can therefore be critical.