Legal Dictionary

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Capital Offense

A capital offense, also referred to as a “capital crime,” is an offense that is punishable by death. First degree murder, depending on the aggravating circumstances may be charged as a capital offense in certain states. Conviction for a capital offense results in capital punishment. Capital punishment, also known as the “death penalty,” is the killing of a person by the government as punishment for a committing a crime. If capital punishment is not imposed, the defendant is sentenced to life imprisonment without parole (LWOP).