Aggravation

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Aggravation

Any circumstances surrounding the commission of a crime that increase its seriousness or add to its injurious consequences.

Such circumstances are not essential elements of the crime but go above and beyond them. The aggravation of a crime is usually a result of intentional actions of the perpetrator. Such crimes are punished more severely than the crime itself. One of the most common crimes that is caused by aggravation is aggravated assault.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

AGGRAVATION, crimes, torts. That which increases the enormity of a crime or the injury of a wrong. The opposite of extenuation.
     2. When a crime or trespass has been committed under aggravating circumstances, it is punished with more severity; and, the damages given to vindicate the wrong are greater.

AGGRAVATION, in pleading. The introduction of matter into the declaration which tends to increase the amount of damages, but does not affect the right of action itself. Steph. Pl. 257; 12 Mod. 597. See 3 An. Jur. 287, 313. An example of this is found in the case where a plaintiff declares in trespass for entering his house, and breaking his close, and tossing his goods about; the entry of the house is the principal ground and foundation of the action, and the rest is only stated by way of aggravation; 3 Wils. R. 294; and this matter need not be proved by the plaintiff or answered by the defendant.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.