Being charged with a crime in Philadelphia can make even the strongest of people feel as if their world is collapsing. Wimmer Criminal Defense, the preeminent criminal defense law firm in Philadelphia, has put together the below guide to help you become acquainted with some of the terms you may hear as you navigate the…
What Constitutes First Degree Murder Under Pennsylvania Law?
First degree murder in Pennsylvania requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a person acted with “specific intent to kill” and deliberately caused the loss of another person’s life. This is a high legal standard which carries severe consequences upon conviction. In Pennsylvania, a first degree murder conviction results in a mandatory sentence of life without parole. This is why it is important to immediately contact Wimmer Criminal Defense or call (215) 712-1212 if you are suspected or charged with criminal homicide or first degree murder in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania.
Our State Supreme Court has held the use of a deadly weapon against any vital part of the human body is sufficient to establish the specific intent to kill. The prosecution may also use circumstantial evidence to establish the existence of a specific intent to kill.
Without the ability to prove the specific intent to kill, the prosecution must consider other criminal homicide offenses such as second or third degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
How is a Person Charged with First Degree Murder in Philadelphia?
Once the District Attorney has charged someone with a count of criminal homicide or murder generally, there will be a preliminary hearing. Usually the prosecution will bring an eyewitness who will offer evidence of homicide against the alleged perpetrator. As your first degree murder defense attorney I am able to skillfully cross-examine any witnesses to uncover or challenge what the witness claims to have happened. This is a crucial opportunity to begin an aggressive defense against first degree murder charges.
Ultimately, if the case proceeds to trial the prosecution must introduce the testimony of police or detectives who have investigated the case, credible witnesses, evidence of a deadly weapon as well as physical and medical evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the specific intent to kill. Each of these are an opportunity for challenge, cross-examination and an aggressive criminal defense.
Aggressive Defense of First Degree Murder Charges
Lauren Wimmer has extensive experience working alongside homicide judges in murder cases. She knows the strategies the prosecution will attempt to use, the proven knowledge of which arguments will work to defend first degree murder charges, and those that won’t.
If you or someone you love is charged with criminal homicide and first degree murder the minimum sentence for a conviction is life in prison without the possibility of parole. In some cases, the prosecution may seek the death penalty.
As an experienced and aggressive Philadelphia homicide and murder attorney, Lauren Wimmer conducts extensive investigation and discovery in these cases. There is extensive work which must be done to mount a successful defense against first degree murder charges. This includes investigating the scene and the actions of all law enforcement, investigators and laboratory technicians. Wimmer Criminal Defense speaks with potential witnesses, and works within relevant Pennsylvania case law and available legal motions to challenge and vigorously defend every step of the case.
Contact the experienced first degree murder defense firm of Wimmer Criminal Defense Law or call Lauren Wimmer for a confidential and free consultation at (215) 712-1212. There are critical deadlines to be met and notices which must be filed in a timely manner. We must act quickly to engage your case as soon as possible to achieve the best possible outcome.