In New Jersey, depending on the particular crime you commit, there is a range of appropriate penalties that the law finds equivalent to the offense. Some crimes are considered more serious than others and result in harsher penalties. A felony offense, for example, will carry significant consequences, since it is a serious criminal offense. If you are charged with a felony, you may expect to face penalties such as fines, probation, and even jail time. This is because there are certain sentencing guidelines that the courts must follow. Most crimes have mandatory minimum sentences. However, the court is entitled to impose harsher penalties if they find it reasonable based on the aggravating factors of the crime you committed. If you are facing a felony conviction, it is imperative to have one of our skilled Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorneys on your side. Please continue reading to learn what aggravating factors could increase the severity of your criminal sentence.
What aggravating factors could increase the severity of a felony conviction in New Jersey?
If you are facing a felony conviction, various aggravating factors could influence the severity of your criminal sentence. Oftentimes, the court will impose additional penalties if they deem it appropriate for the seriousness of the crime you committed. The following aggravating factors could impact the severity of your felony conviction:
- Whether you have a criminal record.
- Whether the crime you committed caused or threatened serious harm to another person.
- Whether the crime you committed was motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or sexual orientation (hate crime).
- Whether the victim of your crime was disabled, elderly, or a police officer.
- Whether the crime was committed in a sacred or protected location.
- Whether you committed the crime because of your association with a gang.
- Whether you used a weapon such as a firearm.
- Whether you played a vital role in committing the crime if more than one party was involved.
- The degree of danger your crime poses to the safety of the public.
In some cases, the circumstances surrounding your crime could work to your advantage. In a defense strategy, an experienced criminal defense attorney can argue that you do not have a criminal record, you did not cause or threaten serious harm to another, you did not use a weapon, you did not pose a threat to the public, and you did not play a large role in the crime as more than one party was involved. It is imperative to retain the legal services of a seasoned Middlesex County criminal defense attorney who can help you understand any available defenses that could help you achieve a favorable sentence or avoid a conviction.
In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one are facing a felony conviction, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our determined and dedicated attorneys. Unfortunately, several aggravating factors could increase the severity of your criminal sentence. To avoid harsh penalties, allow our firm to fight on your behalf and represent your interests in court today.