Aggravating circumstance

Definition - Noun
: a circumstance relating to the commission of an act that increases the degree of liability or culpability <punitive damages are recoverable in a conversion case when the evidence shows legal malice, willfulness, insult, or other aggravating circumstances ­Schwertfeger v. Moorehouse, 569 So. 2d 322 (1990)>
: a circumstance (as lack of remorse) relating to an offense or defendant that receives consideration by the court esp. in imposing a death sentence
compare mitigating circumstance

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Based on Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©2001.
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