Criminal Defense Attorney
Hank J. Clarke
Criminal Defense Attorney
For more than 30 years, we have been serving the legal needs of Central Pennsylvania including the Williamsport, Lewisburg, Canton, Towanda, Wellsboro, Sunbury, Shamokin, Danville, Bloomsburg, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas.
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to some frequently-asked
Criminal homicide occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another human being. An action resulting in a person’s death can be classified and criminally charged in different ways: murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.
Murder is graded in three degrees:
A criminal homicide constitutes murder in the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing with premeditation, which carries a penalty of either life imprisonment or the death penalty.
A criminal homicide constitutes murder in the second degree when it is committed while the defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony, which carries a penalty of life imprisonment.
All other charges of murder shall be murder of the third degree, which is a felony of the first degree, which carries a penalty of up to 40 years imprisonment.
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills an individual and at the time of the killing is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by the individual killed. Voluntary manslaughter is graded as a felony of the first degree.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs 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. Involuntary manslaughter is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, unless the victim is under 12 years of age and in the care of the person causing the death, at which time it is graded as a felony of the second degree.
There are a variety of defenses a skilled defense attorney can present when a person is charged with any of the categories of criminal homicide. First, he can prove there is no evidence that you committed the crime. He can also help provide a sufficient reasonable doubt to the jury in the event the case proceeds to criminal trial. There are instances when an attorney can establish that a person is acting in self-defense, which results in the death of an individual.
Police often say that it is to your benefit to be truthful and cooperative by telling your side. This is almost always not in your best interest. Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, you should be represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not speak with the police or give any statements without your attorney present. Your attorney will advise you of your rights and can often arrange for bail so that you are released from prison and can aid your attorney with your defense. In 1977, I began practicing Criminal Defense almost exclusively.
At Lepley, Engelman, Yaw & Wilk, we have years of experience successfully defending our clients, if you are arrested for criminal homicide, contact us immediately.