What aggravating factors can increase the severity of a criminal sentence in New York?

Depending on the particular crime you commit, there is a specific range of penalties you will have to face. This is because most offenses have mandatory minimum sentences and specific guidelines the court must enforce. However, depending on the seriousness of the crime and any aggravating factors present, the judge may impose a more severe sentence or a sentence with more stipulations. Being charged with a criminal offense is a scary experience as there is a lot of uncertainty about whether the judge will impose additional or harsher penalties based on the aggravating factors of your crime. To learn more about what factors could increase the severity of your criminal sentence please continue reading. In addition, contact a seasoned Rockland County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you navigate the charges brought against you. 

What aggravating factors determine the severity of my criminal sentence in New York?

When you reach the sentencing stage of your case, the court will examine all aspects, including the circumstances surrounding the crime. The circumstances surrounding the crime are considered aggravating factors. Various aggravating factors could increase the severity of your criminal sentence. One of the most influential factors is whether you have a criminal history. If you have previous convictions or arrests, the judge will likely impose harsher penalties. Often, if this is a first offense and you do not have a previous criminal record, the judge may not decide to impose additional penalties. When the court is determining your sentence, the following factors are considered:

  • Whether you have a criminal record.
  • Whether the crime you committed threatened or caused serious harm to another person.
  • Whether you used a dangerous weapon such as a firearm to commit the crime.
  • Whether the crime you committed was motivated by discriminatory attributes such as the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, or sex (hate crime).
  • Whether the crime you committed targeted a vulnerable group of people such as the elderly, disabled, a child, or law enforcement officers.
  • Whether you committed the crime because of your association with a gang.
  • Whether the crime was committed at a protected or sacred location.
  • The role in which you played in committing the crime if more than one party was involved.
  • The level of danger your crime poses to the safety of the public.

As shown, numerous aggravating factors could influence the severity of your criminal sentence. It is pertinent to note that some aggravating factors are specific to certain offenses. For instance, if you know that you are HIV positive and committed a sex crime, that aggravating factor will likely result in a more severe criminal sentence. This is because that factor is specific to that offense and would not be applicable in another scenario. Ultimately, numerous aggravating factors could increase the severity of your sentence.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, you need a qualified Rockland County criminal defense attorney on your side. With years of experience, we can help defend your rights and interests. Contact us today so we can fight on your behalf to avoid a conviction or reach a more lenient sentence.