Crimes are classified in the state of Pennsylvania according to their severity. Involuntary manslaughter is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. If the victim is 12 or younger and killed by a guardian, it is classified as a second-degree felony. A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000. A second-degree is punishable by up to two years of incarceration and fines of up to $5,000.
Being arrested can be scary — possible conviction and sentencing can be even scarier. If you or someone you love was arrested for this crime, you need to understand the involuntary manslaughter penalties in Pennsylvania. A criminal defense lawyer can explain how various factors impact possible penalties. Your lawyer can also fight to mitigate the penalties you face and help you start rebuilding your life.
How the State of Pennsylvania Defines Involuntary Manslaughter
According to 18 Pa. C.S. § 2504, involuntary manslaughter means a life was lost as the result of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. The initial act that led to the demise of another person could have been lawful or unlawful.
Defending yourself against this charge can be difficult and overwhelming. A defense lawyer can help. They will listen to your story with compassion, understanding, and without judgment. The lawyer who represents you will also explain how your criminal record could impact the penalties of conviction.
Factors that Affect the Penalties of Involuntary Manslaughter
No two criminal cases are exactly the same. The penalty phase of any criminal conviction can vary greatly from one defendant to another. Your lawyer will appraise your case based on its specific details. The following factors could play a role in the length of your sentence:
- Sentencing guidelines
- The age of the victim
- Your criminal record
- Plea negotiations
When you are represented by an attorney, they can help you build a strong defense strategy. Your lawyer will have the opportunity to evaluate the state’s case including witness statements and evidence. If you maintain your innocence, your attorney will help you fight for your freedom and future.
Additional Ways Arrest or Conviction Can Impact Your Life
In addition to jail or prison time and hefty fines, arrest, trial, and conviction can change your life in multiple ways. Your friends and family will also be affected. Non-criminal penalties of arrest and conviction can include:
- Loss of employment and damage to your career
- Damage to your reputation in your community
- Loss of respect among your family and peers
- Damaging marks on future background checks
Your lawyer can help you limit many of these factors. They can also help you protect yourself and your family. The goal of criminal defense is more than the legalities of your case. A solid criminal defense can also ensure you get a chance to build a brighter future.
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Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle Your Case
Without legal guidance and support, a criminal case — particularly for a serious charge like involuntary manslaughter — can be daunting. You do not have to face these charges on your own. When your case is handled by a criminal defense lawyer, they will:
- Conduct discovery sessions to understand the details of the state’s case
- Locate and interview witnesses who support your version of events
- Examine the details of your arrest to ensure your rights were not violated
- Ensure the state does not unduly prolong your case at any phase
Your lawyer will also handle all communication in your case. That includes communication with law enforcement, prosecutors, and witnesses. They will also represent you at every phase of your case including all court hearings, motions, and appearances.
The Benefits of Plea Bargains and Sentence Reductions
Plea bargains can be difficult to negotiate on your own but can be very beneficial for both sides in criminal cases. Both sides can avoid the time and expense of a lengthy trial. You can also benefit when your attorney negotiates a plea deal by experiencing the following benefits:
- Avoiding the uncertainty of a trial’s outcome
- The possibility of lower charges than you initially faced
- The possibility of lighter sentences
- Probation or parole possibilities
The lawyer who represents you will look at all available options in building your defense. Your legal team will look for any opportunities that provide leverage that can benefit your case. This can include any violations of your rights before, during, or after your arrest.
Get Help from Our Criminal Defense Team
If you or someone you love has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, we can help. Our client-focused law firm will fight to minimize the penalties you face if convicted in Pennsylvania.
Find out how hard our Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC team will go to bat for you. Contact one of our criminal defense team members today for your free consultation and to start exploring your legal options.