Written by attorney Bill Powers

Felony Death by Vehicle - DWI Charges and DWI related Felony Charges

[Malice] comprehends not only particular animosity "but also wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences, and a mind regardless of social duty and deliberately bent on mischief, though there may be no intention to injure a particular person." 21 A. E. 133 (2nd Edition 1902). . . . "[It] does not necessarily mean an actual intent to take human life; it may be inferential or implied, instead of positive, as when an act which imports danger to another is done so recklessly or wantonly as to manifest depravity of mind and disregard of human life." State v. Trott, 190 N.C. 674, 679, 130 S.E. 627, 629 [(1925)]. . . . In such a situation[,] "the law regards the circumstances of the act as so harmful that the law punishes the act as though malice did in fact exist." 1 Wharton, Criminal Law and Procedure § 245 (Anderson, 1957).

Additional resources provided by the author

[Premeditation and deliberation] may be proved by proof of a circumstance from which they may be inferred such as a lack of provocation by the [v]ictim; conduct of the [d]efendant before, during and after the killing; threats and declarations of the defendant; use of grossly excessive force or vicious circumstances of the killing or the manner or means by which the killing was done. Id. at 241, 456 S.E.2d at 788. In examining that jury instruction, this Court explained: The instruction in question informs a jury that the circumstances given are only illustrative; they are merely examples of some circumstances which, if shown to exist, permit premeditation and deliberation to be inferred. The instruction tells jurors that they "may" find premeditation and deliberation from certain circumstances, "such as" the circumstances listed.

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