Malice murder is a serious offense that could jeopardize your life. If convicted, you may face a lengthy prison sentence, steep fines, the loss of your reputation, and severe mental health consequences. Our office can provide you with a homicide defense attorney in Philadelphia, PA.
We aim to build the strongest possible case to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. This way, you may have an easier time returning to your life. Our firm provides all callers with a free initial consultation, so there is no cost or obligation to speak with us about your case. Take steps to defend yourself when you contact a dedicated Philadelphia criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC.
How Malice Murder Differs From Other Charges
As defined in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Myers, malice is, among other things, an intentional killing or desire to inflict great harm physically on another person.
The case also ruled that defendants charged with this crime are greatly indifferent to human life, which is a critical part of the murder charge.
If the prosecution cannot prove malice, the most you can be charged with is manslaughter. The penalties for manslaughter, while still potentially steep, are much different than the penalties for murder.
For a free legal consultation with a malice murder lawyer serving Philadelphia, call 215.515.3360
Penalties of Manslaughter and How They Differ from Murder
Manslaughter penalties vary depending on whether or not there was a provocation. If someone kills another intentionally but without malice aforethought, they are guilty of manslaughter.
They may receive either probation or prison time of up to 20 years if it’s voluntary or five years if it’s found to be involuntary.
On the other hand, if a person commits murder, he will always face at least one year in jail. If it’s a first-degree murder charge, they face life imprisonment or the death penalty, per 18 Pa. C.S.A § 1102.
Fines and Restitution
A manslaughter fine may be $25,000 or $10,000, depending on whether you are convicted of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
Murder and voluntary manslaughter are both felonies, so you will not be allowed to vote for the duration of your sentence, per the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Involuntary manslaughter, however, is a misdemeanor, so you always retain the right to vote.
The more severe the penalties, the more of a negative effect they can have on your career, family, reputation, social life, finances, and mental health.
Casting doubt on the prosecution’s claims of malice may be one way for us to reduce your sentence. It may also make it easier to negotiate a plea with the court, further reducing your sentence.
The Consequences of Different Degrees of Murder in Pennsylvania
Murder is one of the most harmful crimes people can commit, and Pennsylvania’s justice system has varying penalties for each degree. The degrees of murder are:
This charge requires the defendant to have actual malice and an intention of killing someone. Killing someone with a weapon such as a gun, baseball bat, or dangerous chemicals are all examples of this degree of murder.
Defendants who commit murder of the first degree are subject to life in prison, along with a fine of up to $50,000. Pennsylvania currently has a moratorium on the death penalty, but an intentional killing can put you on death row.
A conviction of second-degree murder is when someone commits a felony as an accomplice or is the primary perpetrator and kills someone in the process. This act may also be referred to as a felony murder because the person intended to commit a crime but not to kill someone.
The state penalizes a murder of the second degree similar to the first, imposing a $50,000 fine and a term of life imprisonment.
A third-degree murder charge is issued when the murder doesn’t fit the elements of first or second-degree murder. Pennsylvania is one of three states with third-degree murder charges. A murder of the third degree usually involves the intent to physically harm someone but not to kill them.
The punishment for this act is prison time of up to 40 years. A court will set the amount of prison time based on the nature of the defendant’s crimes.
Philadelphia Malice Murder Lawyer 215.515.3360
We Defend the Rights of All Philadelphians
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. This is the law in America, and this is what we believe as we defend residents of Pennsylvania. Our team can help to defend your rights by:
- Investigating the charges: We can review the case as compiled by the authorities and the prosecution. We can also conduct an independent investigation to uncover the evidence they may have missed.
- Looking for signs of misconduct: If law enforcement violated your rights at any time, we could use that information to undermine the prosecution’s case.
- Seeking a reduction or dismissal: By reducing the charges against you, we can ensure you face lighter penalties if you are convicted. Meanwhile, a dismissal would mean you would not face any penalties.
- Negotiating a plea: For example, if you plead guilty to a lesser crime, you could face a reduced sentence and get your life back much faster.
- Handling all administrative tasks: From filing forms to scheduling meetings with the prosecutors or the court, we can ensure everything is taken care of.
- Representing you at trial: If the case goes to trial, we will be a vigorous courtroom advocate, presenting oral arguments and filing objections if the other side does not play fair.
You may need us to deal with some aspects of the case at any time, day or night. For this reason, we welcome you to call our firm any time you want our assistance. Once you hire us, we can make ourselves available to:
- Answer questions about your rights and responsibilities or the legal process.
- Help you make decisions about the future of the case.
- Provide regular updates about the case’s progress.
Malice Murder Penalties Can Be Severe
What happens if you are convicted of murder? While some penalty variations depend on the victim and the type of murder or homicide charges you face, you are likely to face fines and a prison sentence. You may also experience a loss of reputation that affects your:
- Family: Prison could take you away from your loved ones for decades, and some of your relatives may not want to associate with you if they believe you are guilty.
- Finances: Fines, court fees, and other expenses could ruin your financial stability, especially if a lengthy prison sentence means you cannot work.
- Career: Besides the working time you lose behind bars, you may find it harder to find a job when you get out because some employers don’t like hiring anyone with a criminal record.
- Ability to find housing: Like employers, landlords may be reluctant to rent or sell to someone with a murder conviction.
- Mental health: A conviction, and all of the penalties that come with it, can be devastating for your emotional well-being and self-image.
- Social life: Friends and acquaintances you once enjoyed spending time with may shun your company because they think you are guilty or do not want to be tainted by association.
While it is scary to be facing a serious charge like malice murder, you can be comfortable knowing that our team is fighting on your side.
Let criminal defense lawyer Marni Jo Snyder and her team take care of you and your family the best way they know how: by providing responsive and empathetic legal representation from the beginning of your case to the end.
Call Our Firm For a Free Consultation Today
Our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder LLC protect Philadelphia clients from serious criminal charges, including rape, drug dealing, and malicious murder.
To get started, call us or fill out the contact form at any time for a free consultation. We’re available at all hours of the day because we don’t stop working until we get you justice.