As we have discussed in previous blog posts, it does not take much for criminal charges – and penalties – to escalate. There are many details that investigators and prosecutors alike consider in a criminal case.
Aggravating factors, or factors that influence the severity of the crime and consequences, play a large role in charging and sentencing individuals. However, these factors pose a much larger risk than many think.
Aggravating factors could mean federal charges
North Carolina law outlines several aggravating factors that can increase the severity of penalties for criminal convictions. Such factors include, but are not limited to:
- Acting in the role of “leader” in a criminal activity
- Receiving payment to commit a criminal offense
- The age of the victim, and the severity of their injuries
- The use of a deadly weapon
However, there are many cases where the addition of aggravating factors could turn criminal charges into federal crimes. In these situations, other kinds of aggravating factors may come into play, such as the lack of remorse or even the location of the crime.
For example, someone facing assault charges in North Carolina could find themselves facing federal charges for the offense if it was against a federal employee or law enforcement officer, and involved a deadly weapon that resulted in severe injuries.
Prosecutors have to prove it
The prosecution – in both state and federal courts – has the burden of proof in these cases. This means that they must prove aggravating factors exist.
This is why it is critical to counter their efforts and obtain experienced defense. The risk of federal charges is serious, and it is critical to understand all of the factors that affect that risk and take them seriously.