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Last Updated on: 1st August 2023, 01:29 am
In the state of New York, there is a distinct difference between murder and manslaughter. Since a different set of circumstances can lead to each crime, it makes sense that there would be different charges and penalties for each. After all, their distinction will have an everlasting effect on the lives of all involved.
Homicide involves the taking of someone’s life by another person. Homicide does not recognize whether the loss of life was intentional or not. All homicides are killings. However, not all homicides are considered crimes.
In New York, murder is a form of homicide. Under United States law, murder is viewed as an unlawful, intentional killing performed with malice aforethought. This means that the killing is not legally justified. Two types of murder are first degree and second degree.
First degree murder is the willful and premeditated killing of someone. This means that the desire to kill a particular individual was already there, and that the thought, whether short-term or long-term, to kill had already been established. In order to be charged with first degree murder, an aggravating factor must also exist. Several are included in the following:
• The killing of a police officer;
• The killing of a peace officer;
• The killing of an employee of a state or local correctional institution;
• The killing of a witness to prevent his testimony;
• The killing of a judge; and
• Hired to kill someone else.
In New York, first degree murder also includes felony murder. Felony murder is whereby a killing occurs in the process of fleeing from or committing another crime. Such crimes include kidnapping, burglary, robbery, sexual abuse, rape and arson.
There are several defenses to first degree murder. If the killing occurred while you were protecting yourself, then self-defense could be used in your case. Or, if you were protecting someone else, then that could be used as your defense. The infancy defense could be used if you are under 18 years of age. Perhaps you were in a different state of mind during the killing, then the extreme emotional disturbance defense could be used. Or, maybe you have a mental defect or disease that caused you to commit the killing.
Needless to say, first degree murder is a serious offense. As such, it has a harsh penalty. As a class A-1 felony, if you are convicted of first degree murder, then you could be sentenced to prison for 20 to 25 years, or life without parole or death.
Second degree murder involves a killing that occurred due to someone’s dangerous behavior and blatant lack of concern for human life. While intending to kill someone, the person actually kills a third person or the intended person. Second degree murder also involves the intentional killing of someone. However, the killing is not premeditated, and it is not performed in the heat of passion.
The extreme emotional disturbance defense could be argued. Or, it could be argued that the defendant did not have a deadly weapon in his possession at the time of the killing. Or, if the defendant is under 13 years of age, then the infancy defense could be argued.
Second degree murder is a class A-1 felony. Depending upon its type, a second degree murder charge carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Involuntary manslaughter involves killing someone unintentionally due to criminal negligence or recklessness. In New York, involuntary manslaughter is also known as second degree manslaughter. There are three components to an involuntary manslaughter charge:
• A killing actually occurred due to the defendant’s actions;
• The defendant’s actions placed others in danger or were performed with blatant disregard for human life;
• The defendant recognized or should have recognized that his behavior would threaten the lives of others.
If you are faced with such a charge, you could argue self-defense. Or, if the defendant is under 16 years old, then the infancy defense could be argued.
Involuntary manslaughter, or second degree manslaughter, is a class C felony and carries a three to 15 year prison sentence, with a fine of up to $5,000.
Voluntary manslaughter involves intentionally killing someone although there was not a desire to kill previously. The killing just happened in the moment. It occurred in the heat of passion. The intent was to cause serious physical injury, but instead a killing resulted.
In New York, voluntary manslaughter is also known as first degree manslaughter. A few defenses to this type of charge include self-defense or mental defect or disease. Or, if the defendant is under 14 years of age, then the infancy defense could be employed.
Voluntary manslaughter is a class B felony. It carries a five to 25 year prison sentence, with a fine of up to $5,000.
If you are faced with a charge of murder or manslaughter, then you should immediately contact an attorney. An attorney will perform a thorough investigation. This is what you need. He will investigate your background, as well as the victim’s background. An attorney will investigate the crime scene, DNA evidence and footage recorded on the day of the incident. He will find eyewitnesses and question them. He will investigate the charges and formulate a plan. An attorney will give you a fighting chance.
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