Second degree murder charges are considered when a homicide occurs during the commission of a felony. The penalty associated with second degree murder in Pennsylvania is almost always life in prison.
Second degree murder means a person acted with malice, but it does not have to have been a planned or foreseeable outcome. Felonies associated with second degree murder often include, but are not limited to:
This is often called the “Felony Murder” rule and can be charged for either the person who took the action(s) resulting in murder as well as any co-conspirator or accomplice to the felony.
This means anyone who accompanies or participates in a felony is also at risk of second degree murder charges. A person may have driven the killer to the scene, assisted in the crime or helped in the escape. The prosecution will use any participation with the killer or the crime itself as a reason to file second degree murder charges.
If you or someone you love is accused of a homicide or murder you need an experienced criminal defense attorney with the insight of several murder cases and the legal skill to challenge the prosecution and force either a reduction in the charges or seek an outright acquittal.
The burden on the prosecution in these cases is quite high – “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This not only means the prosecution must prove the actions associated with the death of an individual but the circumstances surrounding the events of that death, including the commission of a felony. Lauren Wimmer served as a clerk in Philadelphia’s homicide court for years. This experience provides extensive insight into the arguments which work, and those which won’t.
Pennsylvania law also provides specific defenses Wimmer Criminal Defense Law can raise in homicide and murder cases known as “affirmative defenses.” An affirmative defense allows the person charged with a crime to admit to causing the death of another person, but avoid the associated punishment due to coercion, mental insanity, and other reasons such as self defense. 18 Pa.C.S. § 505 protects those who commit a crime in Pennsylvania while defending themselves, including homicide or murder.
Second degree murder is one of the most serious offenses a person can face and the consequences are quite severe. As an experienced and aggressive Philadelphia homicide and murder attorney, Lauren Wimmer conducts extensive investigation in these cases.
A successful second degree murder defense is quite complex. We investigate the scene of the crime, interview all potential witnesses, review the actions of law enforcement and laboratory technicians and evaluate all medical and physical evidence associated with the case. We use our experience and legal skill to apply relevant Pennsylvania case law and available legal motions to challenge and vigorously defend every step of the case.
Contact the experienced second 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. It is important to take immediate action to put us to work on your case as soon as possible so we can help to achieve the best possible outcome.