Aggravating Factors in First Degree Murders
In California when first degree murder is committed, repercussions can include 25 years to life in prison, life in prison without parole, fines, loss of rights, or the death penalty. While California does not execute the death penalty as swiftly as possible, there is still framework that can decide the extent of punishment. Aggravating factors of the crime are a list of factors whose outcome can tip the scale of a judge’s decision.
Defendants should have professional help to maintain their rights throughout this process. When accused of a first degree murder and going through trial, it can often be difficult to prevent rights from being stripped or tampered with. While these aggravated factors are considered, regardless of their outcome, constitutional rights should be protected.
They come in place once an act has been declared a first degree murder. To qualify, there must have been a premeditation or use of explosives, weapons of mass destruction, poison, rape, arson, and others.
While aggravating factors differ from state to state, California has 13 to determine severity of the murder. Several listed are: “the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or depraved (or involved torture),” “the defendant committed or attempted to commit more than one murder at the same time,” and “the defendant has been convicted of, or committed, a prior murder, a felony involving violence, or other serious felony.” While these are only three of the 13, they capture the ideas that the factors embody.
The result of these factors has a direct impact on the life of the defendant. However, they do not have to face the trial alone. Regardless of any outcomes, rights should be protected throughout the process, often with the help of a Nashville criminal defense lawyer.