Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Why Choose Us

Clients can use our portal to track the status of their case, stay in touch with us, upload documents, and more.

Regardless of the type of situation you're facing, our attorneys are here to help you get quality representation.

We can setup consultations in person, over Zoom, or over the phone to help you. Bottom line, we're here to help you win your case.

Law in the Media

View All

Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

New York Penal Law 125.20: Manslaughter in the first degree

By Spodek Law Group | May 3, 2017
(Last Updated On: July 26, 2023)

Last Updated on: 26th July 2023, 08:56 pm

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.

New York Penal Law 125.15: Manslaughter in the second degree

Causing death to another person is a serious offense, and it’s one that’s made more complex with New York laws. Manslaughter in the second degree is the act of taking another person’s life, but it’s not necessarily the act of doing so with intent. When a person is accused of killing another person under this penal code, it might mean they did so without the intent. If it’s intentional, it’s murder. If it’s unintentional, it’s still death. It’s typically a situation that involves some sort of negligence, recklessness, or even a moment of serious passion. When someone dies because of poor decisions, it’s manslaughter.

In New York, this is considered a class C felony. The prison sentence for this kind of criminal act is up to 15 years per count. If a person causes unintentional death to three people and is found guilty of all three deaths, this person might be sentenced as long as 45-years in prison if the maximum sentence is issued. A NYC criminal lawyer must be able to prove the person who caused the accident or incident in which people were killed was not to blame for the instance, and he must use one of the acceptable defenses found in this type of felony case. It’s not always easy because the law is so complex.

Examples of Manslaughter in the Second Degree

There are endless examples of someone who intends to go out and murder someone for the sake of taking their life, and there are those who don’t intend to cause harm or death to someone else. An excellent example of manslaughter in the second degree is a person who is racing home from work driving over the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, and blowing through red lights and stop signs without slowing all the way day because he or she is late.

If that person accidentally hits another car or pedestrian and someone else is killed, it’s manslaughter in the second degree. The driver of the car didn’t intend for anyone to become injured or even killed, but it happened. He or she was driving recklessly and negligently ignoring the law, but he or she did not intend for someone’s death to occur as a result of their actions. The same goes for someone who is driving under the influence, someone who shoots an intruder to stop them from breaking into their home, or someone who does anything without the intent of taking the life of another person.


It’s not easy to defend yourself when your actions caused the death of someone else. However, if you can prove that you were unable to cause someone’s death by reckless or negligent behavior because your actions were neither, you can defend your case. There might be a point when you realize the brakes on your car failed as you tried to stop before hitting another vehicle. You were neither reckless or negligent, but you did cause someone’s death.

There are instances in which a manslaughter in the second degree case is overturned and no one is found guilty. While the act of taking another person’s life by accident is punishable by law, it’s not always an easy case to prove. Even if the person who died took his or her own life, another person can be accused of manslaughter in the second degree if he or she was intentionally rude, hateful, or encouraging of this behavior. It happens more than many people care to admit, and it’s not something everyone is sent to prison for with the right defense.

The Harrowing Consequences of First Degree Manslaughter

Manslaughter in the First Degree is a tragic occurrence and a serious crime, classified as a Class B felony in New York. Convictions may lead to a potentially life-altering prison sentence of up to 25 years, as well as hefty fines that can be overwhelmingly burdensome for those who are found guilty. Unlike murder, manslaughter in the first degree involves an accidental death caused by negligence, recklessness, or heightened emotions — not an intentional desire to claim a life.

Determining Guilt

For convictions to be made, the court must definitively prove that at least one of the following criteria occurred:

  • The defendant intended to harm someone but did not have plans to end their life
  • An abortion was performed on a woman who was more than 24 weeks pregnant, leading to her death
  • The emotional distress caused by the act of killing another person led to the death of a third person
  • The defendant, aged 18 or older, intended to cause injury to someone younger than 11

Chilling Examples of First Degree Manslaughter

Imagine a scenario in which a young man becomes enraged with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Fueled by jealousy, he seeks to prove his strength and masculinity by attacking the new boyfriend. A confrontation occurs, and the young man throws a powerful punch, knocking the new boyfriend to the ground. He strikes his head against a table corner, sustaining a critical injury that ultimately causes his death.

This heartbreaking situation qualifies as first-degree manslaughter. The assailant acted out of anger but did not intend to take a life; instead, he merely wanted to express his superiority by causing physical harm.

Defenses for First Degree Manslaughter

An exceptional NYC criminal lawyer will tirelessly defend their client against accusations of intending to take a life during an incident of first-degree manslaughter. It’s crucial that the lawyer demonstrates to the court how the defendant did not want to pose a fatal threat or cause serious, long-lasting harm.

Defense Type Example
Self-Defense You pushed someone away who was invading your personal space because you felt threatened.
Protecting Self or Others You inadvertently harmed or killed another person while defending yourself or others from an immediate threat.

Manslaughter in the Second Degree: Killing Without Intent

New York Penal Law 125.15: Manslaughter in the Second Degree refers to cases in which a person unintentionally takes another’s life without criminal intent. This Class C felony may lead to a prison sentence of up to 15 years for each count, and convictions often arise from situations involving negligence, recklessness, or impassioned actions.

Examples of Second Degree Manslaughter

When individuals heedlessly risk lives through their actions, the consequences can be catastrophic. For instance, a person rushing home from work, cutting through traffic and ignoring traffic signals, may unintentionally cause a fatal accident. Though they did not intend to take a life, they are still guilty of second-degree manslaughter due to their reckless and negligent behavior.

Defenses for Second Degree Manslaughter

It can be incredibly challenging to vindicate oneself in cases of second-degree manslaughter, but proving that the accused person’s actions were not reckless or negligent can be a valid defense. Additionally, external factors, like a vehicle malfunction or brake failure, can help establish that the defendant was not solely responsible for the devastating incident.

In some rare cases, manslaughter charges may be overturned and no one is found guilty. However, even when a person takes their life, another individual can still be held accountable if their actions were deliberately cruel or malicious, as in cases of bullying, harassment, or encouragement of self-harm. With a powerful defense, some individuals may avoid a punitive prison sentence.

Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me, and my company Qumana skincare feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!