Legal Definition of aggravating circumstance
: 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); also : a circumstance (as lack of remorse) relating to an offense or defendant that receives consideration by the court especially in imposing a death sentence — compare mitigating circumstance
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