It is true that if you were harassing the victim prior to his or her suicide, you may be charged with criminal harassment in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Pennsylvania. In the event that you are charged with harassing someone who has committed suicide, it is important to have a competent criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate through the legal process. This is because being found guilty of criminal harassment carries serious consequences such as jail time and financial penalties.
Defenses To ‘Aiding a Suicide’ Criminal Charge
Unfortunately, innocent people are often convicted of encouraging suicide. They may have sent a text, voicemail, or email prior to the suicide. Others are wrongly accused due to witness statements used as evidence against them.
But here’s what truly matters in order to establish “intentional conduct:”
A prosecutor will have to demonstrate evidence that you had conscious objective or purpose to aid, advise, promote, or encourage the victim to commit suicide.
It is important to understand that the prosecutor will have to establish any of these two elements by proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order charge you with promoting suicide.
- You assisted someone else in committing suicide; or
- You deliberately aided, advised, promoted, or encouraged someone else to end their life.
If you had no actual intent for the victim to act on your encouraging suicide statements, you are likely to escape “assisting a suicide” charges. That is, of course, if you are being represented by a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer. If you were:
- (a) merely trying to tease the victim,
- (b) being sarcastic,
- (c) merely trying to hurt the victim in an emotional manner without wanting to cause them physical harm, or
- (d) merely discussing suicide.
The prosecution should not be able to charge you with “aiding a suicide” as a crime. Defenses to ‘aiding a suicide’ criminal charge include:
- No intentional conduct: You had no deliberate intent to get the victim to act on your “encouraging” statements.
- The victim had no intent to commit suicide: Although the death of that person may look like attempted suicide, your attorney may be able to prove that the victim died in an accident.
- False accusations: You are being falsely accused of aiding, advising, promoting, or encouraging suicide.
- Discussing suicide is not a crime: If you merely discussed suicide with the victim without encouraging or aiding him or her to end his/her life, you cannot be convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania.
Navigating Legal Challenges with Competent Legal Representation
If you or a loved one is facing charges for assisted suicide don’t walk the journey alone.. With the help of a skilled Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer, we can help you navigate the Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania legal system and provide a strong defense. No matter how challenging your case may seem, remember that every situation has potential legal defenses that can be explored. Reach out to our firm today and let us assist you in securing your freedom and protecting your rights.