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Take first degree murder charges seriously in Pennsylvania

First degree murder charges must be taken very seriously. Pennsylvania law sets some very harsh penalties on a conviction for first degree murder. If you are facing this charge, you need to think about the criteria that must be present for the charge as well as considering the penalties as you work on your defense.

A charge of first degree murder means that you are accused of killing someone in a way that is considered premeditated. This means that you thought about and planned the murder before you committed it.

Pennsylvania provides two possible penalties for first degree murders that occur in this state. In many cases, the penalty is life in prison. When there are aggravating circumstances associated with the murder, the prosecution might seek the death penalty.

You have several possibilities to use as a defense against first degree murder charges. Self-defense is one option that you might decide to use, but there are other defenses you might also consider. Acting under duress, mental insanity and diminished capacity are other options you have.

There is also the option of claiming that you didn't intentionally kill anyone. If you were intoxicated at the time of the murder, you might be able to use that information to have your charge reduced to a lesser charge.

In all first degree murder charges, the defendant has the option to present the defense they feel best suits their case. It is imperative that you consider every option that you have so that you can decide what course you want your defense to follow.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania First Degree Murder Laws," accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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