Provocation Law and Legal Definition

Provocation refers to something that incites or provokes; a means of arousing or stirring to action. In criminal law, provocation is a possible defense by excuse or exculpation alleging a sudden or temporary loss of control as a response to another's provocative conduct sufficient to justify an acquittal, a mitigated sentence or a conviction for a lesser charge. It is a defense in a divorce case based upon physical violence, verbal abuse, or other course of conduct on the part of the plaintiff likely to lead to retaliation by the defendant, thereby inducing the conduct of the defendant complained of as a ground of divorce.