What Does It Mean if My Offense Was "Aggravated?"

Aggressive Legal Counsel for Serious Charges

If you were charged with a criminal offense, you are likely facing severe penalties that may be intimidating. These penalties may be even harsher if it is determined that your alleged offense was aggravated. This is essentially an enhanced version of charges due to additional factors. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we understand the stress of seeing a minor offense heightened by circumstance. Our Anaheim criminal attorneys are ready to help you fight for your freedom.

Our primary attorney, Barney Gibbs, has been practicing criminal defense for more than 30 years. Throughout his career, he has represented clients in more than 2,500 criminal cases in local courtrooms. This has helped him develop an extensive familiarity with the prosecutors and judges that you may face. He uses this knowledge as an advantage in his defensive strategy, which has allowed him to see more than 1,100 of his cases dismissed. He has the experience and competence you need to ensure that your penalties aren't increased to do aggravating factors.

Understanding Aggravated Charges

An aggravated charge means that additional factors were involved in circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. These factors must have increased the seriousness of the crime. For example, you may be pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving and then charged with a simple DUI misdemeanor. However, if you were arrested after causing an injury to another individual while driving under the influence, your DUI charges will be considered aggravated. This means your case will be fired as a more severe charge with a potential for harsher penalties.

Aggravating factors for assault include:

  • Deadly weapon – can apply whether or not the weapon was actually used
  • Victim's status – applies if the victim was a police officer, fire fighter, teacher, etc.
  • Hate crime – applies to assault on someone due to race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Degree of injury – can apply if resulting injury was severe

Additionally, repeat offenses of the same nature can sometimes warrant aggravated charges. For example, according to California Penal Code § 186.11, any individual who commits two or more felony white collar crimes ( fraud, embezzlement, etc.) will face the enhanced potential penalties of an "aggravated white collar crime." In other scenarios, the amount of money involved in a white collar crime may be an aggravated factor.

"Aggravated" vs. "Degree" of Charges

Aggravated charges should not be confused with the degrees of criminal charges. The degree of a charge further classifies an aggravated offense. The distinction of an aggravated charge typically applies to situational factors of an alleged crime: what was used, who was involved, and what the result was. The degree of the charge depends on the alleged offender's intent. For example, a first degree aggravated assault is one in which a deliberate and premeditated malice existed, whereby a second degree aggravated assault was not planned or premeditated.

Gain 30 Years of Experience in Your Corner

At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we are proud to advocate for the rights of the accused. We understand that you may feel isolated and overwhelmed by aggravated charges and want to fight for you. We understand that circumstances can be misinterpreted and are ready to help ensure that your rights are protected. You don't have to face this alone; our Anaheim criminal defense lawyers can be on your side.

Take the first step in your defense; call us to schedule your free case evaluation!