In order to know the meaning of the aggravating term that now concerns us, we will begin by discovering its etymological origin. Thus, we can determine that it is a word that derives from Latin, specifically “aggravantis”, which can be translated as “that makes it more serious”. It is a word that is the result of the sum of several components:
-The prefix “ad-“, which would be equivalent to “towards”.
-The verb “gravare”, which is synonymous with “imposing a weight”.
-The suffix “-nte”, which is used to indicate the agent of the action.
Defined by Digopaul, the notion of aggravating can be used as an adjective or a noun. In the first case, the term refers to what aggravates: what makes something more serious or heavy. As a noun, an aggravating factor is a factor that increases severity.
In the field of law, the circumstance that increases a subject’s criminal liability is called aggravating. These are motives that are linked to the act itself and make the crime more serious.
These aggravating circumstances do not have to do with the existence of the fact. In other words: without the aggravating circumstance, the crime would exist anyway. What is aggravating is a greater responsibility from the criminal point of view for the individual who committed the crime.
There are aggravating objectives (linked to the means used and the specific execution of the criminal action) and personal (associated with the offender’s relationship with the victim or with moral condition). At the time of the trial, the aggravating circumstance will suppose a greater penalty for the condemned.
The enseñamiento, the premeditation, the breach of trust and recidivism are reasons that, according to every law, be regarded as aggravating. Take the case of a man who murders his wife with punches, kicks, and twenty-five stab wounds. This murder is aggravated by the link that the murderer had with the victim (they were married) and treachery (he acted treasonously with his wife and made sure of the result of his act, without the victim having the possibility of defending himself).
In the same way, we cannot ignore the fact that there are other situations or events that can also be considered aggravating around a crime:
-Having executed the act by abusing a clear superiority.
-Committing the crime for racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic reasons… In the same way, it will also be aggravating to have carried it out as a clear sign of discrimination against another person due to their disability, political or religious ideas, illness…
-Being a repeat offender is also, another aggravating circumstance that will be taken into account by the judge when establishing a sentence, specifically when setting a harsher sentence.
-It is also aggravating to have carried out the crime itself in exchange for a promise, reward or a certain price.
– Needless to say, this list also includes aggravating the infliction of deliberately increased damage on the victim of the crime to cause more suffering.