A crime of passion is a valid legal defense that can be used in some cases. It generally means that the person wasn’t thinking or acting rationally, but they were simply reacting to some unanticipated emotional event.
Perhaps the most common example of this is when a person’s spouse is engaging in an extra-marital affair. That person returns home and discovers this affair, and they attack the other person in a crime of passion. This isn’t something they ever planned to do, but they just reacted in the heat of the moment.
How does this actually help you?
If you think of your only options as pleading that you are either guilty or not guilty, then claiming that it was a crime of passion won’t make much sense. It is essentially also an admission of guilt. In order to make this claim, you are saying that you did do the events described, but that you did them because of the emotional response.
This helps you because it removes any element of premeditation. It shows that this isn’t something you planned. In that sense, it can often be used as a way to reduce a serious charge to a lesser charge. You will likely receive a shorter sentence than you would have been given if you were convicted of first-degree murder. Murder cases usually require intent, and a crime of passion does not come with intent.
Reducing a sentence
This example is important because it also shows that you may want to be flexible when considering your goals as you head to court. People often think that they are simply trying to show that they are not guilty, while the court is trying to convict them. But your strategy doesn’t only revolve around these two polar opposites. A valid tactic, in some situations, is just working to reduce your sentence to get a more favorable outcome. This is just one example of how that can happen as you take a look at all of your legal options.