New York Penal Law 125.20: Manslaughter in the first degree

New York Penal Law 125.20: Manslaughter in the first degree

Manslaughter in the first degree is a class B felony that might result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years in New York. There are additional fines that can prove financially debilitating to many if they are convicted of a crime of this nature made payable in conjunction to a prison sentence. Unlike murder, a person charged with manslaughter in the first degree does not intend to go out and harm another person with the intent of taking a life. It’s an accidental death caused by either recklessness or negligence, and passion can also be used as a distinguishing factor in a case such as this one.

Guilt of this nature is determined when a court of law proves one of the following:

– The defendant intended to harm someone, but did not intend to take their life
– A person commits an abortion on a woman further along in her pregnancy than 24 weeks and the mother dies as a result
– The emotional distress of a third person causes that person to die in relation to the act of killing another
– The defendant is older than 18 and intends to cause injury to someone younger than 11

Examples of Murder in the First Degree

A young man decides he is angry with the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend. He wants his girlfriend back, but she’s met someone new and wants nothing to do with him anymore. She’s broken up with him and decided to move on with her life, but he’s got other plans. He wants to impress her by beating up her new boyfriend to show off that he is stronger and more masculine than the new boyfriend. A fight ensues, and the ex-boyfriend punches the new boyfriend in the face.

His punch is so hard it causes the new boyfriend to fall down and hit his head on the corner of a table. The injury to his head causes him to suffer serious blood loss and brain injury, and he dies as a result of the injury he sustained. The old boyfriend had no intention of killing the new one, he just wanted to beat him up and show him who is stronger. This is an example of manslaughter by the first degree. The man did not intend to kill the other man, but he did intend to cause bodily harm.


A NYC criminal lawyer has the job of defending your lack of intent to take another person’s life when dealing with manslaughter in the first degree. The job of the attorney you hire is to prove you did not intend to take a life as well as harm someone to the point it was an option. The defense you must use is you did not intend to cause someone some much harm their risk of death increased, their bodily organs were harmed, or the injuries they sustained were more than superficial.

If this can be proved, a court of law cannot find your guilty of manslaughter in the first degree. For example, if you push someone who gets too close to you in an argument because they are in your personal space and you are fearful they will harm you, you didn’t intend to harm them badly or kill them. This could be a good ground for your defense. If you can prove you were acting in self-defense when another person harmed you first, or that you were merely protecting yourself or another person when you injured or killed another, you great increase your chance of being found not guilty.

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