You may have heard people discuss crimes of passion. A crime of passion is when someone is so overcome by emotion that they react without thinking and do something illegal. In the most serious cases, it results in death.
Can you really claim that it was a crime of passion if you’ve been accused of taking someone’s life? And would doing so be a valid defense?
It can have a significant impact on your sentence
The thing to remember is that a crime of passion is not going to be prosecuted or sentenced in the same way as a premeditated murder. By claiming that it was a crime in the heat of the moment, you’re saying that you didn’t think about it in advance, you didn’t plan to do it, and you had no ill intent prior to the event.
A common example is when someone comes home and finds their spouse having an affair. They had no idea it was happening until that moment, and they just reacted.
Under the law in New Jersey, a crime of passion can constitute manslaughter in cases in which a person would be otherwise charged with murder. This can vastly change the potential ramifications of the charge and the type of evidence used in court.
A crime of passion can be a defense option, even though the goal of using it is not to get yourself out of the charges entirely. If you’ve been accused of taking someone’s life or another violent crime, you need to understand all of your legal rights and defense options.