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Why would someone use a crime of passion defense?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Criminal Defense

With some criminal defense tactics, the goal is for the person who has been accused of committing a crime to show that they were not involved. For example, someone may be accused of robbing a bank, but they have an alibi – they were at work during the time of the robbery, and there is surveillance footage to prove it.

But the crime of passion defense is different. This defense essentially states that the event that took place just happened in the heat of the moment. This defense is sometimes used with homicide allegations. For instance, someone will come home unexpectedly and discover their spouse in the middle of an affair, a physical altercation will ensue, and one person will be killed. For those accused of such serious and life-altering charges, why would they ever want to use a crime of passion defense if it means admitting that they were responsible?

Seeking a reduced sentence

The thing to remember is that criminal defense tactics aren’t always about getting out of the charges. The crime of passion defense may be used if it’s very clear what happened and there’s no way for the person to claim they weren’t involved. Instead, they’re seeking a lesser sentence.

In this specific example, it’s important to remember that murder typically requires intent and premeditation. To be convicted on first-degree murder charges, someone generally has to plan their actions in advance and intentionally take the other person’s life. By claiming it was a crime of passion, the accused person is saying that there was no premeditation and that they never intended to harm the other individual, but they were just reacting emotionally.

It’s wise to consider the different ways that criminal defense tactics can be applied to your case. Be sure you know about all the options at your disposal when facing charges.