Causing or Aiding Suicide in the State of Pennsylvania
The topic of suicide has been heavily in the news recently due to the suicide deaths of several prominent people, including Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain. While many suicides are linked to a mental illness or severe depression, there remain many significant legal implications for anyone who assist another person in taking their own life. When another person intentionally aids or solicits someone to commit suicide, he or she is guilty of a crime in the state of Pennsylvania. Even if the other person fails to respond to a person’s attempt to aid or solicits the suicide, he or she could still be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. When one person causes another to kill themselves by force, duress or deception, that person may be guilty of homicide.
Causing or Aiding Suicide Charges in Chester County Pennsylvania
Learn about what causing or aiding suicide is in Pennsylvania and what to do if you or a loved one is facing accusations or criminal homicide charges. Facing suicide charges is a pivotable moment in a person’s life. Is it the time to reach out to an inexperienced criminal attorney or a former prosecutor who touts his convictions but lacks experience gaining murder acquittals? Before it’s too late, call our team. Facing third degree murder charges anywhere in Pennsylvania and need help, call the Ciccarelli Legal Team at (610) 692-8700.
Getting the Best Defense where you are facing Causing or Aiding Suicide Charges
Reach out to the Ciccarelli Legal Team, when you are facing a aiding suicide charge the greater Philadelphia metro area, including Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County and throughout Pennsylvania. Then ask yourself, why you are not calling now and scheduling a time to meet with our legal team. Call now at (610) 692-8700.
Our team of lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices is ready to fight for you. When the threat of prosecution for homicide and murder is real, you need to look for the best options and find a top murder defense team serving Chester County and beyond. Based in West Chester (Chester County) in the Philadelphia Metro Area, the Ciccarelli Legal Team defends the rights of murder and homicide defendants throughout Pennsylvania.
Competent Adults May Create Advance Directives, However Assisted Suicide is Not Allowed
Pennsylvania allows competent adults to create living wills or advance directives to relay their health care decisions, and while the state prohibits the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve a person’s pain and suffering, competent adults may choose to forego life-sustaining treatments. In fact, withholding or withdrawing a life-sustaining treatment from a patient which results in death does not, under any circumstances reach the level of suicide or homicide under Pennsylvania statutes. While a healthcare provider is required to follow the directives in a person’s living will, others are not allowed to aid a person in the decision to actively choose to end their life.
Mercy Killings Extremely Controversial
Assisted suicide is an extremely controversial issue, sometimes known as “mercy killing”’ if the person who wants to die is terminally ill or in extreme pain. There are currently only two states which allow physicians to help a person commit suicide, even though almost all states do allow life support to be withdrawn, including feeding tubes and respirators when requested by a person. Those who are in favor of assisted suicide believe every human being has the right to end their life in an effort to avoid chronic, severe pain or other grave limitations which relate to a terminal illness. Others believe no one has the right to help another end their life—for any reason—and that to do so violates the basic role of a doctor which is to heal.
Potential Penalties for a Person Who Intentionally Aids or Solicits Another to Commit Suicide
In the state of Pennsylvania, a person who “intentionally aids or solicits another to commit suicide” could find themselves facing second-degree misdemeanor charges. If convicted of this second-degree misdemeanor, the person could face up to two years in prison and could be assessed a fine as large as $5,000. Intentionally aiding another person’s suicide could include obtaining the necessary articles or even sanctioning the plan via some type of communication, such as a letter, an email or a text. If a person’s actions actually cause the suicide—or even a failed attempt at suicide—then the person may be charged with a second-degree felony and could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and could be responsible for fines as large as $25,000 upon conviction.
Will Pennsylvania Ever Pass Laws to Allow Assisted Suicide?
So far, efforts to pass laws which would allow one person to help another commit suicide have not been successful in the state of Pennsylvania. A bill known as the CARE Act (Compassionate Autonomous Right for the End of Life) was introduced in 2015, however never made it out of committee. Five similar bills have been introduced over the course of the past ten years with the same results. The Pennsylvania Death With Dignity Act was introduced last January, however has not moved since its introduction. The draft version of the bill states that any actions taken in accordance with the law would not constitute suicide, assisted suicide, homicide or mercy killing, and was closely modeled after Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act which went into effect in 1997.
The most recent Pennsylvania bill which was introduced would require those requesting medication to assist in their death to be mentally capable of making and communicating such healthcare decisions, to be a resident of the state, and to have been diagnosed with a terminal illness which could reasonably be expected to result in death within six months. The person would be required to make to separate, verbal requests to his or her doctor, fifteen days or more apart to receive the medication, as well as submitting a written request, signed in front of witnesses. The person would not be allowed to receive help in ingesting the medication, rather would be required to ingest it on their own. It is unlikely this latest bill will move any further than similar past bills therefore currently Washington and Oregon are the only two states where assisted suicide is legal.
Get The “Right Defense” When facing Pennsylvania Suicide Charges
When you or a loved one is accused of causing or aiding suicide allegations or charges, gain the benefit and experience of the Ciccarelli Legal Team. We bring years of experience defending clients, demanding justice and fighting for acquittals. Our team is ready to represent you when you are facing homicide and murder charges in Pennsylvania. We are based in based in suburban Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us at (610) 692-8700.