An Aggravating Crime

Apr 28, 2009

There is a “regular crime” then there is an “aggravated crime,” but what does this mean in the scheme of the American justice system?

It’s a slightly simplified explanation of the differences in how a crime is charged to say there is a crime, and then an aggravated version of the same crime. This term is bandied quite often on TV when the cops and attorneys get their heads together to figure out what to charge the perpetrator with and how “aggravating” the crime was in totality.

Aggravating is living with your ex spouse, but aggravating in reference to a crime is something different. There needs to be certain factors present in order to charge a crime as an aggravated one; say aggravated assault, for instance.

“The factors that need to be present may include whether or not there was a dangerous weapon involved, if there was a threat to use a dangerous weapon, and if bodily harm was caused as a result of the crime in question, etc,” explained Daniel H. Wannamaker, board certified criminal defense attorney of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin law firm with offices in Dallas and Houston.

“The factors are what “converts” a regular crime to an aggravated crime, and while that may sound simple enough on the surface, it rarely is,” said Wannamaker, who would definitely know what he is talking about, since he deals with many cases such as this on a regular basis. There may be the crimes of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and even aggravated murder. “Although having said that, what makes a murder an aggravated one is slightly different,” added Wannamaker.

In cases of aggravated murder, not only do the factors mentioned earlier apply, but also the key to the charge being changed from murder to aggravated murder has to do mainly with the location and situation of the murder. “The best example I can think of in this instance is the murder of an inmate by another prison inmate, while in prison. The location makes the charge aggravated murder,” explained Wannamaker.

Generally speaking most aggravated crimes tend to have higher penalties attached to them; however, each case is different and involves different factors. “If you’re in a situation where you have been charged with an aggravated crime, call me, we need to talk about your options,” said Wannamaker.

Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit