What Is Your Experience In Handling Murder And Manslaughter Cases?
The majority of my experience in this category of crimes occurred during my almost 10 years as an Assistant Public Defender. Currently, I am not death penalty certified.
What Are The Different Levels Of Murder And Manslaughter Charges In Pennsylvania?
Murder offenses are categorized as First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder and Third Degree Murder.
First Degree Murder requires premeditated malice, such as lying in wait to kill someone or poisoning them.
Second Degree Murder occurs when a criminal homicide is committed while someone was engaged as a principal or accomplice in the perpetration of a felony.
Third Degree Murder is a catchall. It’s defined as a murder which is neither first degree (premeditated) or second degree (commission of felony). Homicide committed with the intention of causing bodily harm but not death.
Voluntary – killing that occurs as a result of sudden intense passion or emotion. Not a pre-planned situation like in First Degree Murder.
Involuntary – causing the death of another as a result of unlawful, negligent or reckless behavior.
Could I Be Charged And Convicted Of Felony Murder If I Kill Someone In A DUI Accident?
Homicide By Vehicle While Driving Under The Influence is a felony of the second degree.
Will I Be Able To Get Bond or Bail If I Am Charged With Murder Or Attempted Murder?
Bail will not be obtainable for persons charged with first or second-degree murder. In all other cases, bail is guaranteed by Article 1 Section 14 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Factors to be considered in setting bail include but are not limited to the following:
- Previous arrests or convictions;
- Parole or probation status;
- Seriousness of current charges;
- Manner of arrest – by fugitive warrant or voluntary turn in;
- Location of residence inside or outside jurisdiction where criminal acts are alleged to have occurred;
- Ties to the community;
- Previous failures to appear;
- Detainer status.
Does Pennsylvania Have A Stand Your Ground Law?
Yes. Under this law recently enacted, a person in any lawful place outside his home has no duty to retreat and has the codified right to stand his ground and use force including deadly force under certain enumerated circumstances which include protection from death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or rape.
Castle Doctrine also referred to as defense of habitation is a legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode or in some instances even his vehicle as places for which certain defensive rights and immunities attach which permit a person under certain strictly defined circumstances to employ force including deadly force against an intruder. The doctrine limits duty to retreat.
Am I Going To Spend The Rest of My Life in Prison If I Am Convicted of Murder, Attempted Murder, Or Manslaughter In Pennsylvania?
It depends on the charge. First Degree Murder – potential punishments are life in prison or death penalty. Second Degree Murder – life in prison. Third Degree Murder – maximum punishment 40 years (Actual sentence could be less). Manslaughter and various homicide offenses are subject to guidelines where prior record score and offense gravity score will set the sentence ranges.
Why Is It Critical To Hire An Experienced Attorney To Represent Me On My Murder Or Manslaughter Case?
As with all criminal charges it is advisable to seek counsel from an experienced Attorney as soon as possible. ALWAYS REMAIN SILENT. NEVER MAKE ANY STATEMENT WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY.
Your Attorney is going to know precisely how to protect you and give you the best possible potential at trial. The sooner you have that Attorney involved the better. The longer you’re out there by yourself, the longer you’re unprotected and potentially doing regrettable things to your case that no Attorney could ever correct.
For more information on Murder & Manslaughter Charges In PA, a personalized case analysis is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (610) 833-2300 today.
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