If you, your spouse, or one of your family members has been charged with homicide in Philadelphia or the surrounding counties, it is imperative that you obtain the most skilled and experienced defense attorney possible. Pennsylvania homicide cases are far more complex than other types of criminal cases, and involve a variety of elements that only an effective and extremely knowledgeable attorney can adequately manage. Inexperienced attorneys will not fare well against the aggressive homicide units in the various district attorneys’ offices in the Commonwealth.
Homicide charges require a serious defense team on your side as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Lloyd Long today to hear how one of our experienced homicide defense lawyers can help you.
Types of Homicide Charges: Cases Our Law Firm Handles
The Philadelphia homicide defense attorneys at the Law Office of Lloyd Long is part of an elite group of legal professionals certified by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to handle death penalty cases. Our skill and efficacy is clear from our case results, as we have never had a client sit on death row. Our highly experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers have handled dozens of homicide trials, and offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of criminal forensics, ballistic evidence, statement coercion, and misidentification. We represent defendants who have been charged with a wide array of criminal homicide offenses in the Philadelphia area, including:
- First Degree Murder Charges – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2502(a)
- Second Degree Murder Charges – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2502(b)
- Third Degree Murder Charges – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2502(c)
- Voluntary Manslaughter Charges – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2503(a)
- Involuntary Manslaughter Charges – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2504(a)
- First Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer (Police Officer) – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507(a)
- Second Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507(b)
- First Degree Manslaughter of Law Enforcement Officer – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507(c)
- Second Degree Manslaughter of a Law Enforcement Officer – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507(d)
- Causing Suicide as Criminal Homicide – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2505(a)
- Aiding or Soliciting Suicide – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2505(b)
- Drug Delivery Resulting in Death – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2506(a)
Stages of a Murder Trial in Pennsylvania
The most important factor to recognize when you are charged with homicide is that your very life is on the line. In the case of murder in the first degree in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth can seek either life in prison or the death penalty.
In death penalty cases, which are also called “capital” cases, each case is broken up into two parts:
- Trial Phase
- Penalty Phase
At trial, the prosecution attempts to prove to the jury that the defendant committed the crime that he or she is being charged with. If the defendant is found guilty, the proceedings then move to the penalty phase.
At the penalty phase, the government presents “aggravating” evidence to persuade the jury to impose the death penalty. The defense, on the other hand, presents “mitigating” evidence to persuade the jury to spare the defendant’s life.
The process the defense team goes through in collecting helpful facts about the accused is referred to as “mitigation.” While a defendant’s murder case may never reach the penalty phase, it is still important to build a robust mitigation defense from the very beginning. A proper mitigation defense takes several months to prepare, and can involve collecting all manner of data and information about the defendant’s life and upbringing.
The penalties for homicide in Pennsylvania depend on the type of crime the defendant is being charged with. Depending on the offense, the defendant may stand charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Philadelphia homicide charges fall into the following categories:
- Second Degree Misdemeanor
- First Degree Misdemeanor
- Second Degree Felony
- First Degree Felony
For example, involuntary manslaughter is graded as a first degree misdemeanor or second degree felony, depending on the circumstances. To supply another example, voluntary manslaughter is a first degree felony. The more serious the alleged crime, the greater potential exists for imposition of extremely severe penalties, up to and including capital punishment, in certain cases. In non-capital cases, other consequences include incarceration in jail or prison, extremely costly fines, and other life-altering penalties. We can fight to have your penalties reduced, or seek to have to your case dismissed, depending on the situation.
Murder trials are extremely complex, demanding, and intensive compared to other types of trials involving lesser charges. If you or a family member was charged with murder or other homicide crimes, or is under investigation for a suspected homicide, contact the Law Offices of Lloyd Long today to get more information about what to do and how to proceed.
Get Legal Help from Experienced Philadelphia Homicide Defense Lawyers
The Philadelphia murder defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Lloyd Long build a defense team comprised of attorneys, investigators, and scientific experts specially tailored for each case. This approach allows us to simultaneously build a strong defense and a strong mitigation. As evidenced by our winning track record, our aggressive, multi-pronged approach to defending homicide cases works. If you or a loved one is facing homicide charges in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, you can’t afford to delay a single moment to start building your case. For a free legal consultation, contact our law offices immediately at (215) 525-6818.