Crimes of Passion in PA

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

If you or someone you love has been charged with some form of criminal homicide (murder or manslaughter), it is essential that you understand the intricacies of the crime charged. For instance, murder in the first degree is the deliberate killing of another human and constitutes a capital offense. On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter is only a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum term of 5 years in jail. Knowing the exact charge (or charges) is extremely important, especially for your attorney, who will use that information to build a strategic defense and advocate for your rights on your behalf.

What constitutes a crime of passion in PA?

In Pennsylvania, a Delaware County woman was murdered by her jealous ex-boyfriend after he found pictures of her with other men on her phone. The defendant was charged with first-, second-, and third-degree murder, criminal homicide, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. The prosecution will always try to charge a defendant with every offense that fits the crime, in the hopes that one or more will stick after the jury and court are done considering the facts. Here, even if the prosecution drops the murder charges, the defendant was still charged with criminal homicide. Which, as mentioned above, is a catchall term that encompasses every form of homicide, including manslaughter.

Meaning, if his murder charges fail, he is still liable for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. In Pennsylvania, Voluntary Manslaughter is considered a “crime of passion.” It is the intentional killing of another person without a legitimate reason (i.e., self-defense) if at the time of the killing, the defendant was “acting under a sudden and intense passion” that was genuinely provoked by (1) the individual they killed, or (2) another person the defendant wanted or tried to kill, but because of an accident or negligence, the defendant killed this victim instead.

Voluntary manslaughter is always intentional, but what sets it apart from murder is the conduct of the person the defendant intended to kill and the span of time it took the defendant to decide to hurt the victim. For instance, if the defendant in the article above had waited weeks to kill his ex-girlfriend and then had shown up at her door and strangled her, that would be considered murder. But because he confessed to being so enraged by the photos he saw on her phone, while standing in her apartment beside her, that he decided to strangle her out of a blind rage, which resulted in her death, the crime was committed in the heat of an intense passion.

How an Attorney Can Help

Being charged with criminal homicide can be a very scary reality for anyone. Having a seasoned defense attorney, such as Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm, on your side can ensure the court and government uphold rights from the moment you are accused. Additionally, Attorney Lento will work diligently to gather all the information and evidence relating to your case and begin building an efficient strategy for your defense. You do not have to weather this storm alone. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation. The Lento Law Firm wants to help. Let them.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.