Charging Criminal Behavior – More Complicated Than It Looks On TV
Perhaps you've seen the books or the lists about how some of us learn life's lessons. Titles like - Everything You need to know about life You learned from Kindergarten or From Your Dog, Or Your Cat, or From Star Wars, or Noah's Ark, or From Dolly Parton (really! Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dolly Parton: Country Wisdom for Life's Little Challenges Hardcover – November 3, 2020 by Juliana Sharaf) ...you know, those kind of titles.
There might even be some wisdom tucked in those volumes, especially Dolly's but one book you won't or shouldn't find is: Everything I need to know about prosecuting crimes I learned from TV Cop Shows.
Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says the shows are mostly simplistic in the way crimes are charged which he says can be a complex consideration in real life. For example, if someone shoots at you, why isn't that automatically a charge of attempted murder? I mean, if they hit the target, you could be dead, right?
Brusic says the answer lies in the terms and what the legal definitions are, not the tv definitions but the true, technical definitions with all they require of the state.
For example, the main difference between aggravated assault and attempted murder is the presence of intent. Though neither crime results in the victim's death, the charge would be attempted murder if the prosecution could prove the defendant intended to actually kill the victim. In other words, attempted murder is a premediated crime, while aggravated assault is not.