White Glove Service. Excellent Results. Strong Reputation.

Read Our Reviews

New York Penal Law 125.20: Manslaughter in the first degree

May 3, 2017 New York Penal Code

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.



Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

~ David Bruce

Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

~ Rowlin Garcia

Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

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.

Get In Touch

Schedule Your Consultation

Los Angeles

555 W 5th St 35th floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013


get directions


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


get directions


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


get directions


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


get directions

Call Us