If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with homicide, the intentional killing of another person, you need the immediate assistance of a Philadelphia homicide attorney. Convictions for homicide and related offenses are obviously life-changing and carry the longest sentences of any crimes, including life imprisonment without the eligibility for parole for first- and second-degree murder. In addition, Pennsylvania still has the death penalty that prosecutors can pursue in the most egregious cases.
Homicide in Pennsylvania
The different degrees of homicide in Pennsylvania are defined as follows:
- First-degree murder: First-degree murder is the unlawful, willful, intentional and premeditated killing of another with malice. Some people mistakenly believe this involves detailed planning. That is not true. Premeditation and the intent to kill can occur in an instant, just moments before the actual killing. If convicted of first-degree murder, the judge must sentence you to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Unless the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, in which case the jury will determine whether the sentence imposed should be death or life imprisonment.
- Second-degree: This is often referred to as “felony murder”. Second-degree murder is defined as the intentional killing of another during the commission of a felony such as robbery, burglary or rape. Even if an accomplice surprises you, a co-defendant, by killing someone and you were participating in the felony, you can be charged with felony murder. One example is if you are in the getaway car while your accomplice shoots and kills the convenience store clerk during a robbery, you can still be convicted of the murder and face the same penalties despite the fact that you did not physically commit the killing. Similar to first-degree murder, if convicted, the judge must impose a sentence of life without parole. However, there is no death penalty if convicted of second-degree murder.
- Third-degree murder: Third-degree murder is an intentional killing, without premeditation. Even if the intent was only to cause pain and suffering, if the victim dies of their injury, the charge may be third-degree murder. There is no mandatory minimum if convicted of third-degree murder. However, one can be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison.
- different degrees of homicide in Pennsylvania These are considered lesser included offenses to any murder charge. Sentences for these charges are substantially less than for the other homicide offenses.
Philadelphia Homicide Attorney
Attorney Brian M. Fishman at the Fishman Firm LLC is a Philadelphia County homicide lawyer. He has over a decade of experience in criminal law, including four years as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia. He knows what to expect from the prosecution and is a zealous advocate for his clients. He knows how to raise defenses such as:
- Attacking any eyewitness’ testimony as unreliable.
- Lack of corroboration.
- Revealing the motive of co-defendants who testify against the defendant in order to obtain a lesser sentence or even relief from prosecution themselves.
- Mitigating allegations of premeditation.
The Fishman Firm, LLC, is a criminal law firm located in Philadelphia, PA. Attorney Brian M. Fishman is a criminal defense attorney who concentrates his practice on defending the rights of those accused of criminal offenses. He has successfully defended clients in a wide range of criminal cases, and will aggressively defend your rights in court and in negotiations outside the courtroom. If you have been charged with any criminal offense in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks or Chester county, contact Brian M. Fishman at his Philadelphia office now to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer.