Murder and Manslaughter

Scranton Attorneys Defending People Charged with Serious Violent Crimes

Ending the life of another person may result in criminal charges for murder or manslaughter. A criminal conviction for causing a person’s death may result in significant penalties that irreparably alter your life, such as a sentence to life imprisonment. If you have been charged with murder or a related crime, it is vital to retain a seasoned attorney to represent you. The Scranton homicide defense lawyers at Lenahan & Dempsey, P.C., are devoted to helping people accused of committing serious crimes protect their rights, and they will develop persuasive arguments to help you seek a positive result under the circumstances.

Elements of a Homicide Crime and Potential Defenses

Under Pennsylvania law, there are several homicide offenses with which the Commonwealth may charge a person for killing another individual. Specifically, the law provides that a person who knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causes another human being’s death is guilty of criminal homicide. Homicide crimes are classified as murder or as voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. The exact elements that the prosecution must prove to establish a person’s guilt vary depending on the crime with which the person is charged, but in all cases, the prosecution must produce evidence sufficient to show that the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, if the prosecution cannot prove that a defendant acted with intent, recklessness, or any other mental state required as an element of the alleged offense, they should not be able to get a conviction. Additionally, depending on the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death, a homicide defense attorney in Scranton may be able to help a defendant avoid a conviction by showing that his or her acts were justified under the circumstances.

Murder Offenses in Pennsylvania

The most serious homicide crime with which a person may be charged is first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing. A killing will be deemed intentional if it is premeditated, willful, or deliberate, or if it is accomplished by using poison or lying in wait. A person convicted of first-degree murder faces a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty and fines of up to $50,000. Second-degree murder, which is often known as felony murder, is a killing that occurs during the commission of a felony. A conviction of second-degree murder carries a penalty of life imprisonment. Third-degree murder is broadly defined as all other kinds of murder that are not first-degree or second-degree murder.

Manslaughter Charges in Pennsylvania

Voluntary manslaughter involves the killing of a person during an intense and sudden passion caused by provocation from the victim. A person may also be charged with voluntary manslaughter if he or she intends to kills another individual, but accidentally kills the victim. As our Scranton homicide defense attorneys can explain, voluntary manslaughter differs from first-degree murder in that it is not premeditated. It is a felony of the first degree that can result in imprisonment for 10 to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000. Lastly, a person may be guilty of involuntary manslaughter if he or she engages in a lawful or unlawful act in a grossly negligent or reckless manner, and this causes the death of another individual. Involuntary manslaughter usually is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by two and a half to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In cases in which the victim was under 12 years old, however, it is a second-degree felony.

Contact a Zealous Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with manslaughter or murder, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney regarding your rights under the law. At Lenahan & Dempsey, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to defend people charged with serious crimes. We represent people throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Lycoming, Monroe, and Montour Counties who have been charged with a wide range of offenses, including not only violent crimes but also offenses such as DUI, theft crimes, drug crimes, property crimes, white collar crimes, probation violations, and more. We have multiple offices that are located in Scranton, Tunkhannock, New Berwick, and the Poconos Mountains region. You can contact us through our online form to set up a meeting with a homicide defense lawyer in the Scranton area, or you can call us at 570.346.2097 to have a conversation regarding the specifics of your case at no obligation.


Call 888.536.2426 for a free consultation.

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