Wrongly Accused: Criminal Defense 101

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Pre-Crime And Punishment: How Spot-On Is "The Minority Report"?

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In the movie, The Minority Report, crimes are predicted by "pre-cogs," three special individuals who can see the future. Tom Cruise plays a future cop that arrests and delivers punishment for "pre-crimes," as foretold by these pre-cogs. Yet, there is a ring of truth to this story, as there are already punishments available for pre-crime crimes. Let's see how a criminal defense attorney and these pre-crime crimes fit into both the present and the story of this well-known movie:


Even though today's "pre-crimes" are not foretold by pre-cognitive individuals, pre-crime crimes do exist. Plotting a murder, an assassination, a kidnapping, an assault, or an abduction, are all pre-crime crimes. You are intending to commit a heinous act on another person, and you are involving others in this act by the sheer plot of it. If you are caught on camera or some other means of recording, you can be charged with a crime that precedes the crime you intended to commit.

An intent to commit any crime is a crime. The only difference between real life and the movie is that no one can predict the intent. One has to have actual physical evidence occurring in real-time of the intent to commit a crime, and an established plot to commit the crime.

Punishment for Pre-Crimes

In the movie, the punishment for a pre-crime is swift and carried out immediately without a trial. Thankfully, that type of judicial environment does not yet exist. You have to be charged with the intent to commit a crime and be defended by a criminal defense lawyer in court before you are punished. You may also be released and free to walk if there is not enough to convict you of the intent charges. 

Most "criminal intent" charges require a burden of proof. You could say that you are going to kill someone, but without substantial proof, it is "just talk". You are free to say that you will do this or that crime, but unless you have it all planned out and are ready to commit the crime, there is nothing that can hold you in jail.

In Summation

The aforementioned movie takes many of the current judicial ideas and themes to use but expands on them to an extreme. After applying a science fiction concept of precognition, and ramping up judicial ideas to a point where they would exist in a martial law state, you get the movie. In real life, the charges you face for a pre-crime are just charges until proven otherwise, and you will not be killed or imprisoned without due process.

Contact a criminal defense attorney for more information and assistance.