What aggravating factors could increase the severity of a felony conviction in New Jersey?

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Depending on the crime you commit, the penalties you face will vary in severity. When you commit a particular crime, there are sometimes mandatory minimum sentences the court must enforce. However, certain criminal offenses, depending on the seriousness of the circumstances of the crime, could be grounds for additional or harsher penalties. Several aggravating factors could increase the severity of your criminal sentence. If you are facing a felony conviction, it is critical to have an experienced Camden County Criminal Defense Attorney on your side. We can represent your interests in court to seek a favorable sentence. Please continue reading to learn how our seasoned legal team can help you avoid a conviction or in any case reach a more lenient sentence. 

What are the factors that determine the severity of a felony conviction in New Jersey?

When you are convicted or plead guilty to a crime that is classified as a felony offense, you will face significant penalties. Typically, felony offenders are subject to a combination of fines, probation, and imprisonment. However, if the judge deems it reasonable, they are entitled to impose additional and harsher penalties. In some cases, there are aggravating factors that warrant more severe consequences. For instance, if a crime was motivated by a victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, the court may impose a harsher sentence. Several aggravating factors could increase the severity of your criminal sentence. The following circumstances are evaluated by the courts to determine the severity of your felony offense:

  • Do you have a criminal history?
  • Did you cause or threaten serious harm to another person?
  • Did you use a weapon such as a firearm?
  • Did you commit a hate crime?
  • Did you commit the crime at a protected location?
  • Was the victim of your crime elderly, disabled, or a law enforcement officer?
  • Did you commit the crime because of your involvement with a gang?
  • Did you play a large role in committing the crime if more than one party was involved?
  • What degree of danger did your crime pose to the public?

After your hearing, the court will evaluate the aggravating factors of your crime. As mentioned above, the court is entitled to impose harsher penalties based solely on the aggravating factors of the crime. Nevertheless, in some cases, the aggravating factors of the crime you committed can be used to decrease the severity of your criminal sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney may use mitigating factors such as the fact that you did not cause harm to another person or you acted under strong provocation. This could result in a more lenient sentence.

If you have been charged with a felony, don’t hesitate to contact one of our determined and skilled attorneys. It is important to retain the legal services of a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. We are ready to fight on your behalf and help you understand available defense strategies. Allow our firm to represent your interests in court today to seek a favorable outcome.

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