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Extenuating & Aggravating Facts

Extenuating & Aggravating Facts

Understanding Extenuating & Aggravating Circumstances

When laws are designed, they are designed with the idea that in order to be fair, everyone should be treated equally at the hands of the law. On the surface justice makes sense, yet depending on the individual charged with the crime there may be circumstances that either extenuate or aggravate their offense. Below our Queens criminal defense attorney explains the difference between extenuating and aggravating circumstances and how they may affect your case outcome.

Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are facts that could lessen the severity of the crime or punishment. These facts make the defendant’s conduct understandable and less responsible for their actions. Common extenuating circumstances include:

  • Age – Depending on the crime and the circumstances surrounding the incident, a judge may factor in the age of the defendant when determining proper punishment. The
  • Mental Capacity – The defendant possesses certain developmental disabilities that could affect their understanding of the law and the consequences of their actions.
  • Mental Illness – A judge could consider the mental health of a patient when they committed the crime. If Suzy set fire to a home while she was in a severe schizophrenic state the judge may consider that information an extenuating circumstance.
  • Addiction – If an individual was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when committing a crime but those substances were not the motives for said crime, a judge may consider this an extenuating circumstance.
  • Minor Role in the Crime – The defendant played a minor role in the crime. For example, they may have unknowingly driven the getaway car.
  • Religious or Cultural Beliefs –A parent convicted of child abuse for not seeking medical attention due to their religious beliefs could be considered less blameworthy.

Aggravating Circumstances

Contrastingly, aggravating circumstances are facts that could worsen the severity of the crime. Aggravating circumstances present the defendant in a light that could make them more responsible for their actions. Common aggravating circumstances are:

  • Prior Criminal Record
  • Use of a Deadly Weapon
  • Prior Conviction of the Same Crime

Talk to a Queens Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a crime, you should not take these charges lightly. Our Queen criminal defense attorney can provide you with the aggressive, results-driven legal representation you need to ensure your case has the best possible outcome.

Call our office today. – We can review your situation in a free consultation.


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