aggravating factor

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An aggravating factor refers to circumstances surrounding a crime or tort that are sufficient to raise its severity and punishment to the aggravated version of the offense. Aggravating factors are typically laid out by statute and vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific underlying offense. 

Typical examples of aggravating factors include recidivism, lack of remorse, amount of harm to the victim, or committing the crime in front of a child, and many others. 

See also: Mitigating Factor, Criminal Procedure, and the Death Penalty.  

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]