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Luzerne County Murder Manslaughter Lawyer

Luzerne County Murder Manslaughter LawyerLuzerne County Murder Manslaughter Lawyer

Homicide Defense Attorney in Kingston, PA, Represents Clients Charged With Murder and Manslaughter in Luzerne County, Lackawanna County, Columbia County, and Throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania

When you’re facing manslaughter charges or murder charges, one thing is sure. Having skilled legal representation on your side throughout the criminal proceedings ahead of you gives you a much-needed advantage. A Luzerne County murder manslaughter lawyer at Muckler Law, LLC, can help you face what’s ahead.

The stakes are too high in any kind of criminal homicide case to wander through the complex legal process without a professional navigating the next steps for you, advocating for your rights, and working diligently to prepare a strong defense. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Murder and Manslaughter Charges in Luzerne County, PA

Under Pennsylvania law (statute 18 Pa. C.S. Section 2501, both murder and manslaughter are classified as forms of criminal homicide. Criminal homicide, as defined by PA law, encompasses all crimes of causing the death of another human, including doing so intentionally, knowingly, negligently, and recklessly.

Under this statute of state law, Pennsylvania recognizes three separate classifications of criminal homicide crimes you might be charged with:

  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter

The type of homicide charges you’re facing matters because it can affect the elements the prosecution must prove in its case against you and the penalties you could be facing. However, regardless of whether you’ve been charged with murder or manslaughter, you need a skilled Pennsylvania violent crime lawyer on your side. Having experienced legal representation and a strong defense offers you hope for a more favorable outcome.

Areas Where Our Luzerne County Murder Manslaughter Lawyer Defends Clients

Muckler Law, LLC, has precisely the kind of legal knowledge you need to fight murder or manslaughter charges. With the insider insights that lead attorney and founder Matthew T. Muckler gained serving as Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney, he’s fully prepared to defend you against charges as serious as murder or manslaughter.

Our criminal defense firm serves all of Luzerne County and the surrounding area, including:

With an office location in Kingston, we’re local to Luzerne County and represent clients throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Criminal Homicide Under Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania law recognizes several forms of criminal homicide, including:

  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Causing or aiding in another’s suicide
  • Drug delivery (in the form of prescribing, selling, or administering drugs) resulting in death
  • Criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer

Due to the complexity of criminal homicide law, it’s important to entrust your case to a knowledgeable Luzerne County murder manslaughter lawyer.

Manslaughter vs. Murder Charges

Generally, PA law establishes murder as a more serious form of criminal homicide than manslaughter. There are different types and degrees of both murder and manslaughter. Murder tends to occur out of an unprovoked intentional act or in the course of committing a felony crime. Manslaughter is the crime that better fits criminal homicide that occurs accidentally, either when provoked (as a crime of passion) or under an unreasonable belief that the killing is justifiable.

Types of Murder Charges in Pennsylvania

Statute 18 Pa. C.S. Section 2502 of PA law establishes three degrees of murder charges you could face in the Commonwealth. First-degree charges are more serious, and third-degree charges carry the least severe penalties. The higher the degree of the crime with which you are charged, the greater the burden on the prosecution to prove each element of the crime of which you have been accused.

First-Degree Murder Charges

Intentional killings constitute a first-degree murder charge. This is the most serious type of crime you can be charged with in Pennsylvania. If convicted of first-degree murder, you will be sentenced to the harshest penalties the state imposes. When you’re facing such a serious charge, you need an experienced first-degree murder lawyer to fight for you.

Second-Degree Murder Charges

Charges of second-degree murder apply when the killing occurs in the course of committing another felony crime. For this reason, this charge is sometimes referred to as felony murder.

For example, if you are accused of killing someone in the course of a robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, or drug sale, you might be facing a second-degree murder charge, regardless of whether you were the principal actor or just an accomplice. The consequences of being charged with second-degree murder could still send you to prison for life, so you need a seasoned second-degree murder lawyer to help you defend against these charges.

Third-Degree Murder Charges

If the murder of which you are accused isn’t alleged to have been an intentional killing or a killing that occurred in the course of committing a felony crime, you might be charged with third-degree murder. Don’t let the third-degree descriptor trick you into thinking this charge isn’t a big deal. Although somewhat less serious than first-degree or second-degree murder, a third-degree murder charge still constitutes a first-degree felony. If convicted, you could spend decades in prison.

Attempted Murder Charges

It’s possible to be charged with attempted murder if the victim you allegedly intended to kill survived. To prove attempted murder charges, the prosecutor would have to establish proof of a criminal attempt to commit the crime of murder on your part. Under statute 18 Pa. C.S. Section 901 of Pennsylvania law, this will require evidence that establishes both the intent to commit murder and a “substantial step” you allegedly took toward the commission of the offense.

Types of Manslaughter Charges

Just as there are different murder charges, there are also different types of manslaughter charges.

Voluntary Manslaughter Charges

Statute 18 Pa. C.S. Section 2503 of Pennsylvania law establishes voluntary manslaughter as a first-degree felony charge that occurs through a provoked act of sudden passion or an unreasonable belief that the killing is justified (when, in reality, it is not). In either case, charges for involuntary manslaughter are first-degree felony charges with harsh consequences.

Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

Under statute 18 Pa. C.S. Section 2504, an offense may constitute involuntary manslaughter if the killing was a result of a reckless action, regardless of whether the activity in which the perpetrator was engaged was lawful or unlawful. Generally, involuntary manslaughter charges are first-degree misdemeanors, which carry less harsh consequences than felony charges. However, this offense can constitute a second-degree felony when it involves a victim who was a child under 12 and a perpetrator whose custody or care they were under.

Juvenile Murder and Manslaughter Charges

At times, children and teens may be charged with murder or manslaughter. These instances are particularly tragic, but it’s possible for a criminal defense law firm with plenty of experience handling juvenile crime cases to help young defendants and their families pursue more favorable outcomes. Being a minor won’t necessarily prevent you from facing the harshest possible consequences in PA. Under state law (42 Pa. C.S. Section 6355), young offenders are tried as adults rather than in juvenile court if the charges against them could potentially lead to a murder conviction.

Manslaughter and Murder Charge Sentences

If you’re convicted of first-degree murder, you face a mandatory sentence of either life imprisonment or the death penalty. Second-degree murder is not a capital offense but has a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.

As first-degree felonies, both third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges could send you to jail for up to 20 years, in addition to imposing fines of up to $25,000. Second-degree felony charges, like involuntary manslaughter involving a child under 12 in your care or custody, are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. First-degree misdemeanor charges for involuntary manslaughter can still send you to prison for up to five years and result in fines of up to $10,000 under the Pennsylvania Code.

How a Luzerne County Murder Manslaughter Lawyer Defends Against Criminal Homicide Charges

As serious as the crime of homicide is, there are potential defenses to the charges against you. Depending on the facts of your case, your homicide defense attorney in Kingston, PA, might use one or more strategies or arguments like the following:

  • False accusations, including mistaken identity
  • Self-defense or defense of others
  • An unintentional or accidental death
  • An argument that your actions did not cause the victim’s death
  • The prosecutor’s case against you falls short of proving every element of the crime beyond reasonable doubt, as is required to convict you
  • Insanity defense
  • Evidence obtained through unconstitutional methods or improper procedure is inadmissible in court, weakening the case against you

The purpose of defending against the charges against you is to seek a more favorable outcome to your case. Depending on your unique circumstances, that might mean:

  • Getting charges dropped
  • Getting charges downgraded, for example from murder to manslaughter or from seccond-degree murder to third-degree murder
  • Accepting a plea bargain
  • Convincing a jury to return a not-guilty judgment
  • Advocating for less harsh sentences if convicted

A robust defense strategy is crucial when you have been charged with murder or manslaughter in PA. Formulating the strongest possible defense for you requires tireless work from a skilled murder defense lawyer with the dedication to meticulously investigate the crime on your behalf and advocate for you constantly.

Contact a Luzerne County Murder Manslaughter Lawyer at Muckler Law, LLC, Today for a Free Consultation

With the harsh consequences of a criminal homicide conviction looming over you, you’ve never needed legal guidance more than you do now. Skilled legal representation offers you the best hope of this legal matter ending in a more positive outcome for you.

For help from a homicide lawyer in Kingston, PA, contact Muckler Law, LLC, online or call 570-908-4069 today.

Murder/Manslaughter Charges Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

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