When a person dies at the hands of another person, prosecutors experience immense public pressure to get the maximum sentence, while judges are reluctant to show leniency. The punishment can be a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. Having competent legal representation is of paramount importance if you are being investigated for murder, vehicular homicide, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter in Pittsburgh.
When you are facing criminal charges for reckless or intentional killing of another person, you need to opt for legal services of an attorney who is experienced and is ready to invest their time and energy in protecting your rights and freedom.Pittsburgh Criminal Attorneys Robert E. Mielnicki offers skilled and experienced legal counsel and representation on behalf of his clients and vigorously defends them in all types of homicide cases. It is imperative for you work together with your attorney throughout the duration of your case to improve your chances of being found not guilty of the charges or minimize your sentence.
Over the course of his more than 27 years of criminal law experience, Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Robert E. Mielnicki has defended many clients charged with homicide:
- First-Degree Murder: It covers any murder where the defended specifically intended to kill the victim. If a deadly weapon was used on vital body part of the victim, the jury will be instructed that such alone can be considered as evidence of this specific intent.
- Second-Degree Murder: Also known as felony murder, it occurs when the defendant killed the victim during the commission of a felony, but not all felonies. Some examples are arson, kidnapping, and robbery.
- Third-Degree Murder: All kinds of murder that are not covered in the above two categories fall under third-degree murder. Generally, it includes cases where there was no specific intent to kill another person but the person acted with malice.
- Voluntary Manslaughter: A killing while the person was acting due to serious provocation or in self defense, where the need for self defense was not perfectly clear.
- Involuntary Manslaughter: It occurs in circumstances where the killing was a result of reckless or negligent actions. It is not necessary for the negligent actions to have violated any law.
If you hire Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Robert E. Mielnicki, he will visit the crime scene, thoroughly study the witness interviews from investigations, assess crime scene photos, track down documents and records, and address issues like jail-house snitches and incorrect identification to ensure all the facts are known. Based on the information, they will devise a comprehensive legal strategy to ensure that your rights are protected and will fight to get the most favorable outcomes. Attorney Mielnicki has secured a verdict of not guilty for a client charged with homicide.
18 Pa.C.S.A § 2501. Criminal homicide
(a) Offense defined.– A person is guilty of criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another human being.
(b) Classification.– Criminal homicide shall be classified as murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.
18 Pa.C.S.A § 2502. Murder
(a) Murder of the first degree.– A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing.
(b) Murder of the second degree.– A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the second degree when it is committed while defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony.
(c) Murder of the third degree.– All other kinds of murder shall be murder of the third degree. Murder of the third degree is a felony of the first degree.
(d) Definitions.– As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
“Fireman.” Includes any employee or member of a municipal fire department or volunteer fire company.
“Hijacking.” Any unlawful or unauthorized seizure or exercise of control, by force or violence or threat of force or violence.
“Intentional killing.” Killing by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing.
“Perpetration of a felony.” The act of the defendant in engaging in or being an accomplice in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing, or attempting to commit robbery, rape, or deviate sexual intercourse by force or threat of force, arson, burglary or kidnapping.
“Principal.” A person who is the actor or perpetrator of the crime.
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2503. Voluntary manslaughter
(a) General rule.– A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by:
(1) the individual killed; or
(2) another whom the actor endeavors to kill, but he negligently or accidentally causes the death of the individual killed.
(b) Unreasonable belief killing justifiable.– A person who intentionally or knowingly kills an individual commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he believes the circumstances to be such that, if they existed, would justify the killing under Chapter 5 of this title (relating to general principles of justification), but his belief is unreasonable.
(c) Grading.–Voluntary manslaughter is a felony of the first degree.
18 Pa.C.S.A § 2504. Involuntary manslaughter
(a) General rule.– A person is guilty of involuntary manslaughter when as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, or the doing of a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, he causes the death of another person.
(b) Grading.– Involuntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Where the victim is under 12 years of age and is in the care, custody or control of the person who caused the death, involuntary manslaughter is a felony of the second degree.
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2603. Criminal homicide of unborn child
(a) Offense defined.– An individual commits criminal homicide of an unborn child if the individual intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of an unborn child in violation of section 2604 (relating to murder of unborn child) or 2605 (relating to voluntary manslaughter of unborn child).
(b) Classification.– Criminal homicide of an unborn child shall be classified as murder of an unborn child or voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child.
75 Pa.C.S.A § 3732. Homicide by vehicle
(a) Offense.– Any person who recklessly or with gross negligence causes the death of another person while engaged in the violation of any law of this Commonwealth or municipal ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or to the regulation of traffic except section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) is guilty of homicide by vehicle, a felony of the third degree, when the violation is the cause of death.
(b) Sentencing.– (1) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) may be sentenced to an additional term not to exceed five years’ confinement if at trial the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense occurred in an active work zone.
(1.1) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) as the result of a violation of section 3316 (relating to prohibiting text-based communications), 3325 (relating to duty of driver on approach of emergency vehicle) or 3327 (relating to duty of driver in emergency response areas) and who is convicted of violating section 3316, 3325 or 3327 may be sentenced to an additional term not to exceed five years’ confinement when the violation resulted in death.
(2) The prosecution must indicate intent to proceed under this section in the indictment or information which commences the prosecution.
(3) The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 2154 (relating to adoption of guidelines for sentencing), shall provide for a sentencing enhancement for an offense under this section when the violation occurred in an active work zone or was the result of a violation of section 3316, 3325 or 3327.
75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3735. Homicide by vehicle while driving under influence
(a) Offense defined.– Any person who unintentionally causes the death of another person as the result of a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) and who is convicted of violating section 3802 is guilty of a felony of the second degree when the violation is the cause of death and the sentencing court shall order the person to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than three years. A consecutive three-year term of imprisonment shall be imposed for each victim whose death is the result of the violation of section 3802.
(b) Applicability of sentencing guidelines.– The sentencing guidelines promulgated by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall not supersede the mandatory penalty of this section.