Murder Involving the Use of a Firearm
Facing Gun Related Murder Charges in Pennsylvania
Learn about what firearm related murder is in Pennsylvania and what to do if you or a loved one is facing accusations or criminal homicide charges. Facing firearm related murder 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 firearm related 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 Firearm Related Murder Charges
Reach out to the Ciccarelli Legal Team, when you are facing a gun related murder in 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 Lee Ciccarelli. 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.
Information on a Chester County Firearm Related Murder Charge
According to americanprogress.org, the state of Pennsylvania is relatively average regarding gun violence and gun-related deaths as compared to other states, coming in about 30th among the 50 states. Despite this, gun violence has taken a serious toll on the state, with 13,781 people in the state killed by a firearm between the years of 2005 and 2014. Americanprogress.org also found that while Pennsylvania has a number of strong gun laws which keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a significant risk to community safety, overall the state received a grade of “C” for its gun laws. Two particularly alarming statistics are that more Pennsylvania residents are killed by gun violence than in car accidents on an annual basis, and that women in Pennsylvania are killed by their intimate partners—with a gun—at a high rate.
Deadly Weapons Enhancement Sentencing
From the point of view of a person charged with a murder involving a firearm, the consequences can be extremely severe. Not only do you face a murder sentence of anywhere from 20 years to life in prison to the death penalty, in some cases, if a gun was used in the murder the prosecution may ask the court to impose a deadly weapon enhancement penalty as well. A gun, whether loaded or unloaded is considered a deadly weapon in the state of Pennsylvania. Even if you have no prior criminal history, should you be convicted of murder and you used a firearm to perpetrate that murder, then you face deadly weapon enhancements as well, meaning a harsher sentence than you would have received under the standard sentencing guidelines.
Murder in the State of Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, taking the life of another human being in an unlawful manner is considered criminal homicide. The laws of the state include first, second and third-degree murder categories, as well as two categories of manslaughter. Proof of malice must be present in first-degree murder charges, and is sometimes considered the distinguishing factor between murder and manslaughter. To rise to the level of first-degree murder, that malice must usually be express, rather than implied. Particularly in a first-degree murder case, intention must be an element of the crime—it must be proven that the person accused had a specific intention to kill the deceased. A conviction of first-degree murder can result in life in prison with no possibility of parole, or the death penalty.
Deliberate acts, planning and premeditation set first-degree murder apart from second-degree murder, which is more likely to be a killing which was committed spontaneously or during the heat of the moment or a killing which occurred during the commission of a felony. A conviction for a second-degree murder could be up to life in prison. Third-degree murder is any murder which does not fall into the first or second-degree category, however neither is it considered manslaughter. A conviction of third-degree murder can bring up to twenty years in prison as a sentence, and if a firearm was used in any of the above murder categories, then a deadly weapon enhancement could increase the penalties.
Defenses to the Crime of Murder
While the specific defense to charges of murder would depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case, some of the more common defenses used in murder cases—even those involving the use of a firearm—include the following:
- If the person charged with murder does not have the required mental capacity to formulate a specific intent to kill, then the defense of diminished capacity may be available for him or her. A defense of diminished capacity does not relieve the accused of all criminal liability, however it can reduce the charges from first-degree murder to a lower degree of criminal homicide.
- Accidental killing with no criminal intent, while engaging in lawful activity;
- Self-defense of oneself or others;
- Battered women’s syndrome;
- Actual innocence (alibi or erroneous eyewitness identification);
- Insanity or
- Voluntary intoxication (may be used to reduce first-degree murder charges to a lower homicide charge).
Any way you look at it, society considers taking another person’s life to be a particularly atrocious criminal act, particularly if that murder fits into the category of a first-degree murder. This means that the penalties for murder in the state of Pennsylvania are extremely grave, even including a sentence of death in some cases. If a firearm was used in the commission of the murder, the penalties could be even more severe, depending on the circumstances and the specific charges. Because murder charges are so serious, it is highly advisable to contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible after you have been charged, or even if you believe you may be charged with murder. Your attorney can begin protecting your rights and your future as soon as he or she is on the case, which means you are much likely to have the most positive outlook possible, given your charges.
Get The “Right Defense” When facing Pennsylvania Firearm Related Murder Charges
When you or a loved one is facing gun and firearm related murder allegations or charges, gain the benefit and experience of the Ciccarelli Legal Team. The Ciccarelli legal team brings 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.