In Pennsylvania, homicide cases are among the most complex types of criminal matters. Because of the seriousness of murder offenses, having the help of an experienced, effective, and highly knowledgeable defense lawyer is critical when you are facing these types of charges. District attorneys’ offices in Pennsylvania typically have aggressive homicide units, and an inexperienced lawyer will be unlikely to effectively fight against them. If you are facing homicide charges in the Commonwealth, you should retain an experienced and highly-skilled criminal defense lawyer to fight for you. DiCindio Law has the combination of experience and legal skills to build an effective defense to homicide charges.
How murder trials proceed in Pennsylvania
If you are facing a homicide charge in Pennsylvania, your life could be at stake. Depending on the level of offense, you could face up to life in prison or the death penalty. For a charge of murder in the first degree, the prosecutor can decide to seek the death penalty or life in prison.
When a murder case goes to trial, it will be divided into two phases if there is a death penalty sought. During the trial phase, the prosecutors will present evidence to try to prove that the defendant committed the offenses with which he or she has been charged. If the prosecutor is successful, the case will go to the penalty phase. If the defendant is found not guilty, the case will end. In many homicide cases, the defendants may be charged with multiple offenses and might be found not guilty of some of the charges while being found guilty of others. When that happens, the case will proceed to the penalty phase only for the offenses of conviction.
During the penalty phase, the prosecutors will present evidence of aggravating circumstances. When a defendant is convicted of murder in the first degree in a case in which the prosecutor has decided to pursue the death penalty, the prosecutor will present aggravating evidence to try to convince the jury to impose capital punishment.
Mitigating evidence includes helpful facts about the defendant that could help to secure a lesser sentence. While a case might not reach the penalty phase, building a strong mitigation defense from the start is still important. A good mitigation defense will take months to build because the attorney will need to collect a significant amount of information and evidence about the defendant’s upbringing and life.
What are the penalties for homicide offenses in Pennsylvania?
There are several different types of homicide offenses in Pennsylvania. The penalties that you might face will depend on the type of offense with which you have been charged. While you might be facing either a misdemeanor or felony offense, a majority of homicide cases are felonies.
Here is a brief description of the various homicide offenses in Pennsylvania: