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What are Aggravating Factors to a Nevada Murder Case?


Nevada takes its prosecution of violent crimes seriously. People facing severe charges like physical assault or homicide can expect heavy fines and extended prison sentences. Offenders convicted for crimes like murder or rape can also expect capital punishment (although none has occurred since 2006 due to a lack of drugs for lethal injection).

On top of this, many other factors can elevate the severity of a crime even further. These aggravating factors can transform an ordinary case into a charge worthy of capital punishment. As an example, let’s look at aggravating factors for murder cases in Nevada.

Defining Aggravating Factors

An aggravating factor is a circumstance that increases the severity of a criminal act. These factors make a defendant’s crime heavier if they are confirmed to have played a part in the incident. They can also fully implicate a defendant if a plausible link can be found.

Typical aggravating factors may include:

  • a lack of remorse from the defendant
  • level of harm on the victim
  • committing the crime in front of minors
  • repeat offenses

It is common for multiple factors to pile up on a single crime for particularly gruesome crimes.

Common Examples for Murder Cases

Nevada prosecutors will often look for mitigating factors in a murder case to ensure that the defendant gets capital punishment as a result. They’re not just relying on experience and previously-handled cases, however. State statutes actually list aggravating factors that can increase the severity of a murder charge. Some of these points include:

  • murder committed in prison
  • previous history of murder or felony assault
  • knowingly creating risk of death with the use of tools or weapons
  • the victim was 14 or below
  • confirmed hate crime (either due to race, creed, mental standing or gender)
  • previous murder convictions
  • sexual assault during the crime
  • crime committed on school property (including student buses)
  • terrorism motives
  • committed during an arson, burglary, invasion, or kidnapping
  • committed to avoid arrest
  • committed for financial gain
  • knowingly killing an active-duty police or fire officer
  • torture and/or mutilation was involved
  • random act of violence without clear motive

How It Affects the Defendant

The serious effects of aggravating factors to a person’s murder case can’t be understated. If the prosecution can find a clear connection between the charge, any aggravating factors to the crime, and the defendant, their conviction is all but guaranteed. It can be difficult to get a dismissal or a not-guilty verdict if these factors are taken into consideration.

For starters, one can expect to face heavier penalties if aggravating factors affect their charges. Murder with a confirmed aggravating factor automatically elevates to a capital punishment-worthy case. In the worst case, no amount of mitigating factors can reduce the penalty. The best scenario for a defendant facing such charges may include plea bargaining, but that may only work under certain circumstances.

Aggravating factors are a serious concern for defendants facing murder charges in Nevada. Failure to deal with them can put you at risk of going to death row. Consult with your criminal defense attorney to learn about how to deal with it.

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