One issue that comes up in Violent Crimes cases is what is malice? And when does it apply in criminal charges. The legal definition of malice concerns a state of mind that the government must prove that the defendant possessed when he committed a certain criminal act. third-degree murder If the government can prove that the defendant committed a certain criminal act while he possessed or acted with malice, then the defendant may be found guilty of certain criminal charges. Some of these charges are Third degree Murder and aggravated assault. Both of these crimes are graded as felonies of the first degree and generally punishable by a maximum of 20 years in state prison, and in the case of third degree murder, 40 years. Generally the Pennsylvania courts have defined malice as follows: malice is present under circumstances where a defendant displayed a conscious disregard for ‘an unjustified and extremely high risk that his actions might cause death or serious bodily harm. Thus the defendant need not have an intent to kill
Violent crimes such as malice and asking the question What is malice? occur in a various amount of factual scenarios. One such factual scenario deals with a stabbing or a shooting of a firearm at an individual. If the gun for instance is aimed at an important part of the body, then it is clear that the defendant is consciously disregarding a extremely high risk that a victim will be either seriously injured or killed. Situations where defendants can be charged with having acted with malice can occur in drunk driving cases as well. more on homicide Specifically, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has found that an impaired driver (a drunk driver), who causes the death of another does not typically act with the requisite malice to support convictions of third-degree murder and aggravated assault. However, if certain factors exist showing that the defendant disregarded an evident risk, then the accused can be found guilty of these crimes.