Facing a murder charge is a difficult event for anyone. It might seem even more serious if you learn that your case involves aggravating factors. This could mean that the court opts to enhance the penalties that you’ll face.
There are several things that are considered aggravating factors for murder cases in Arkansas. All of these apply to cases that include only one defendant, but they can also apply when there are more defendants.
Common aggravating factors for murder charges
When a murder occurs because of an attempted or actual crime, including robbery, burglary, terrorism, rape, arson, first-degree escape, or a felony violation under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, there’s an aggravating factor. This is also the case when there’s any felony being committed when the murder occurs.
Certain victims also lead to the addition of an aggravated murder claim. This includes the following people when they’re working in the line of duty:
- Law enforcement or correctional officers
- School employees
- Probation and parole officers
- Firefighters or servicemembers
- Court officials, including judges
Discharging a firearm from a vehicle also falls under this category. Cases involving extreme indifference to human life can also result in the addition of the aggravated classification to the murder charge.
If you’re facing criminal charges related to the death of someone, you should ensure that you know your rights. These cases are often complex, so you need to get work quickly on your defense strategy. Taking the time to learn about the options you have and how they may impact your future may help you make decisions about the direction of your defense. Be sure you have someone on your side who’s familiar with Arkansas laws regarding murder or homicide.