Homicide Charges


In Pennsylvania, first-degree murder involves the unlawful (ie, self-defense does not apply), willful, and premeditated killing of another person. The minimum mandatory sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in PA is life imprisonment without parole. In certain cases, first-degree murder defendants may be subject to the state’s death penalty.

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Murder in the second degree involves the killing of another person while engaged in or as an accomplice to a felonious act such as robbery or aggravated assault.

Third-degree murder is any killing that does not fit the previous two categories, such as when an assailant only intends to injury another person but the injuries or complications from the injuries ultimately result in the victim’s death.


Voluntary manslaughter involves the unlawful and intentional killing of another person “in a moment of passion,” such as during a violent domestic dispute.

Involuntary manslaughter typically refers to the killing of another person that is unintentional and the result of reckless or criminal negligence or the result of another crime such as drunk-driving/DUI.


Vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter is the killing of another person as a result of some form of negligence or recklessness involving the operation of a motor vehicle.


Homicide charges in greater Philadelphia will typically be prosecuted by highly motivated and skilled assistant district attorneys. These prosecutors will do everything they can to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. In countering the efforts of the prosecution, you will need an equally skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to lead an investigation into your case. In many homicide cases, a defense attorney’s ability to establish a lack of criminal intent or forethought on the part of the defendant can be crucial to mitigating charges and sentences. If a homicide case goes to trial, your criminal defense attorney should be a talented and experienced litigator who will do everything possible to get charges dropped or reduced.

A Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

Our criminal defense attorney, Charles Gibbs, has been selected to Super Lawyers® and, in 2014, he was named “Outstanding Young Lawyer” by the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia. If you or anyone you know has been arrested and charged with a homicide in greater Philadelphia, Mr. Gibbs would like to help. Please contact him for a free consultation toll-free at 1-855-462-3330 or directly via email by clicking here.

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