In the state of Indiana, the law distinguishes between standard crimes and aggravated crimes, imposing harsher penalties for the latter.
Aggravated crimes are offenses that involve certain aggravating factors, making them more serious in the eyes of the law.
1. Use of a deadly weapon
The use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime is a significant factor that can elevate it to an aggravated crime. Indiana law defines a deadly weapon as any firearm or object that is readily capable of causing serious bodily injury or death.
2. Serious bodily injury
Another factor that can lead to an aggravated crime is the infliction of serious bodily injury upon the victim. Serious bodily injury typically refers to injuries that are more severe than minor cuts or bruises and can include things like broken bones, internal injuries or injuries that result in long-term health problems.
3. Hate crimes
Indiana, like many other states, has specific laws addressing hate crimes. Committing a crime with the intent to harm, intimidate or harass someone based on their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or other protected characteristics can elevate a crime to an aggravated status.
4. Multiple offenses
When an individual commits multiple offenses within a certain time frame or against multiple victims, the law may consider it an aggravated crime. In these cases, the cumulative impact of the offenses can lead to enhanced penalties.
5. Crimes against vulnerable populations
Crimes committed against vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly or individuals with disabilities, are often viewed as more serious.
In 2022, Indiana law enforcement arrested 107,456 people. Although every arrest is different, some circumstances can escalate even seemingly small charges to an aggravated criminal offense.