On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Injuries on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
You may have heard reports on the news about suspects who have been charged with aggravated crimes. It is rarely clarified, though, what exactly this means. How is an aggravated assault different from or worse than a regular assault? There are several factors that determine whether charges are upgraded to aggravated, and if you are facing such charges, you should understand the reasoning. These are a few of the most important things to consider.
Whether or not a weapon was involved
One of the most common reasons for a crime charge to be upgraded to aggravated is the presence or use of a weapon. In some instances, you do not even need to use the weapon to face the more serious charge. If you have allegedly used a weapon in the crime, though, it is likely that this will net you an aggravated charge.
The identity of the victim
In many areas, crimes against certain groups are automatically considered aggravated offenses regardless of the severity of the crime itself. In Georgia, for example, if you are charged with a crime affecting a police officer or an individual over the age of 65, it will automatically be classified as an aggravated charge. It is worth noting, however, that in order to convict you, there must be proof that you knowingly committed the offense against a member of a particular group.
Injuries sustained by a victim
Instances wherein a victim's identity may be cause for an upgrade to an aggravated charge are generally the exception. In most cases, factors such as the severity of damage or the method of the crime are more relevant. This is true for cases in which the injuries of a victim cause a charge against you to be aggravated. Aggravated charges may indicate that an injury occurred or that the injury was particularly severe.
You likely already know that the major difference between simple charges and aggravated charges is the potential consequence for either. You stand to face far more jail time, higher fines and greater repercussions if you are convicted of an aggravated crime rather than its simple counterpart. This is just one reason why it is important to defend yourself against charges-whether they are aggravated or not.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to seek out legal counsel from a lawyer. Hiring an attorney can connect you with the defense you need and help you navigate the legal system successfully.