If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offense, then you may be scared and confused. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with the law, and most people are. If you are confused and worried about the possible outcome of the charge, hire legal services as soon as possible. There are a few terms that you may hear come up whether you hear them during the arrest or later on, so keep reading to learn about a few of them.
When it comes to the law, aggravated means that a charge is more serious based on the circumstances surrounding the crime. The circumstances must add to its enormity in some way by increasing guilt or injury. There are a wide variety of factors and circumstances that can lead to an aggravated charge. For example, if a weapon was used during a crime or if a child was present at the time, that changes the circumstances. Also, if the crime was committed at the same time as another crime, then this may be a reason why the act was seen as aggravated.
You should understand that when a crime is given a label of aggravated, you may be subjected to an aggravated sentence. This also means that circumstances or factors increase severity and thus a more serious punishment is deemed necessary. Circumstances may include things like a lack of remorse, a criminal record indicating that you took part in a similar crime in the past, or a record that indicates other serious or violent crimes.
Also, while aggravated does sometimes refer to a general seriousness of the crime, there are certain laws that refer to very specific circumstances that turn a misdemeanor or basic felony into a aggravated offense. For example, assaulting a federal employee is considered a serious crime. However, if you have a weapon, then you will be charged with aggravated assault on a government employee, which is subject to 20-year jail sentence. Similar and severe penalties are common for other aggravated crimes.
Some other words that you may hear when a criminal offense is serious include first-degree and premeditated. For example, in New York, a first-degree murder would carry a charge of 20 years in prison as a minimum as opposed to 15 year minimum for a second degree charge. However, an aggravated murder charge can carry a life prison sentence.
It can be extremely stressful if you are arrested and do not know what it happened to you. If you do not understand the legal process, then terms like arraignment may seem foreign and confusing. You should know that your booking will occur first where your personal details will be placed in the police department's computer system. You will be fingerprinted and a picture will be taken at this time. The details of your case will then be delivered to the prosecutor's office. This is where a prosecutor will determine what criminal offense you will be charged with.
Once the charge is considered and paperwork is drafted, it is filed with the prosecutor's office. Charges must be filed within 48 to 72 hours of the time you are arrested. Your arraignment will occur very soon afterwards and this is your first court hearing. Charges will be read and you will be able to offer your plea at this time. It is important to have a lawyer with you during the arraignment, because this is also where bail will be set. If you have any financial hardships or if circumstances deem that you are not a flight risk, then you will want an attorney to present these facts to the court. Otherwise, you may be faced with a bail amount that you cannot afford. However, you can work with a bail bond business if this is the case.