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Premeditation and murder charges: What to know

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2022 | Murder/Homicide

When a person is facing an accusation of murder, one of the biggest challenges for the prosecution is to prove that the killing was premeditated. They need to show that the defendant planned or intended to kill the victim before carrying out the act. 

There are several factors that prosecutors can look at to make their case, but it can often be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. 

How is premeditation used in court?

In a criminal case, a murder with premeditation is an act committed with the specific intent to kill someone. That’s a much more serious crime than something like manslaughter – and the consequences are equally more severe.

In order to prove premeditation, lawyers must establish that the defendant had time – however short – to plan their actions. While direct evidence of this nature is often difficult to come by, circumstantial evidence can be just as effective in proving that a defendant acted with premeditation. Threatening to kill someone with a bat a minute before you start swinging, for example, could be considered evidence of premeditation. 

What are defenses against premeditation?

A defense against premeditation would be to show that the crime was committed spontaneously or in response to a provocation. Additionally, evidence that the defendant lacked the means or opportunity to plan the crime can also be used to negate the charge. For example, grabbing the first object you can reach in a fight and swinging it wildly would indicate that your actions were not planned.

When someone dies and you’re facing a serious criminal charge in connection with their death, you don’t want to leave your defense to chance. Experienced legal guidance is the best way to get a positive outcome for your case.