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New York Penal Law 125.27: Murder In The First Degree

First degree murder is often discussed when someone unlawfully kills someone else. The murder is premeditated and planned. This act is committed while the defendant waits for the victim instead of simply killing the victim on the spur of the moment without any forethought involved. If there is a death that occurs during a felony that is being committed, such as an arson, kidnapping or burglary, then first degree murder is often attached. There are three elements that must be present during first degree murder. One is that there is a willfulness to commit the crime. The person has to know what the crime will entail and the repercussions of being caught. Deliberation and premeditation are also elements of first degree murder. Malice aforethought is sometimes a requirement when seeking a first degree murder charge This is sometimes shown separately

A first degree murder must have intent. It might be that the defendant simply wants to kill with the wrong victim being killed in the act instead of the person that the defendant targets. Deliberation and premeditation are often looked at with each murder charge on an individual basis. There needs to be time for the defendant to generate a thought and act on that thought for the murder to occur. The thought process can be one that is quick, or it could be one that is planned for months in advance of the actual crime. Malice aforethought is the evil disposition or a planned purpose to end the life of another. There are a few killings that are classified as first degree even if the required elements are not present. Killing a child with unreasonable force and murdering a police officer are examples.

Examples Of Murder In The First Degree

There are numerous examples to look at when learning about murder in the first degree. If someone develops a plot to go to someone else’s home and shoot that person, then murder is involved. Another example would be if a spouse goes home to see that the other spouse is in bed with someone else. When the person who was with the spouse in bed goes home, the initial spouse kills that person. In the instance of anther crime being involved with first degree murder, an example would be if the defendant sets fire to a home with someone else inside. The intent might not be to kill that person, but since the person was in the home and died because of the fire, then first degree murder is a charge that is attached to arson.

Defenses For First Degree Murder

First degree murder is often at the top of the list of felonies that can be committed in a state. An NYC criminal lawyer can help the defendant in understanding the charges and the possible punishments that are involved. One of the common defenses that is used is that the defendant didn’t commit the crime in the first place. Another is that the defendant was forced to commit the murder. The defendant could admit to killing someone but did not plan the murder and committed the crime on the spur of the moment. Some defendants will claim that the crime was committed in self defense. The attorney will look at the proof for the defense before presenting the case to the court.

New York Penal Law 125.25: Murder in the second degree

Murder in the second degree is among the most serious crimes to commit in New York. New York Penal Law 125.25 is a Class A-I felony. If found guilty of murder in the second degree, a defendant faces as long as life in prison and as short as 15 to 40 years in prison for this heinous act. Taking the life of another person is classified in many different manners, and it’s rarely easy to define what it means when you are looking into this as an issue. Some lives are taken intentionally and some are not, and both have to be defined by the law created by those in power in New York.

Murder in the second degree is an intentional act.

– Reckless cause of death to another person due to indifference for human life
– Death caused as a result of another crime
– Death caused to a child younger than 11 in the midst of a sex crime

Far too many crimes fall into the category of murder in the second degree, even if murder is not the intended action in the moment. If there is a crime being committed in which someone is killed, it’s automatically considered murder in the second degree and the defendant is put on trial to face the consequence of his or her reckless actions.

Examples of Murder in the Second Degree

To help the law seem clearer, several examples are used to define murder in the second degree. If a man enters a home in which he believes no one is home with the intent to rob the home, he is committing a crime. If someone was home without his knowledge and surprises him on the stairs, the criminal is scared and pushes the person down the stairs causing his or her death, this is now murder in the second degree. The criminal didn’t have any intention on committing murder that night, but it happened as a result of his crime.

Another instance is an adult who sexually abuses a child younger than 11. The child then tries to escape by running away, falls down the stairs in an attempt to escape, and dies from the fall. The person who is abused the child is now guilty of murder in the second degree. While death was not the end goal, the act of abusing this child caused the child’s death. It’s a terrible situation, but it happens.


If a person is charged with murder in the second degree, hiring an experienced NYC criminal lawyer is the best option for their defense. The best defense is self-defense in a situation such as this one. If a person can show that the death resulted not as a result of their own reckless behavior but because someone else was threatening them or putting their own life in danger, the case might be dropped entirely or the charges reduced significantly.

Self-defense is not a defense that works for those who commit crimes against children, and it’s hard to escape a conviction if you abuse a child and cause a death from that kind of mistreatment. Other defendants in other situations stand a much higher chance of being able to defend themselves in a court of law if it can be proven than someone else was a danger to their lives. If a person is accused of murder in the second degree, they should call an attorney right away. There is nothing as beneficial to their case as someone with trial experience in the same manner in a court of law.

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