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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.

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What Happens if You Kill Someone in Self Defense in New York

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2023)

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 06:33 pm

Oh Crud, You Had to Defend Yourself and Now Someone is Dead

Well ain’t this a fine kettle of fish you’ve found yourself in. You were just minding your own business when some mug came at you with a knife or gun or their bare hands. What were you supposed to do, just let them have their way with you? No sir, you did what any red-blooded New Yorker would do and defended yourself. Only problem is, now you’ve got a body on your hands and Johnny Law knocking at your door.

Let me break it down for you real quick like. New York has this thing called a “duty to retreat”. Basically, before you go using deadly force for self-defense, you gotta make sure there ain’t no way you could’ve gotten yourself out of harm’s way instead. Like if someone comes at you on the street, you can’t just blast them if you could’ve crossed the road or run away. But if someone breaks into your house or has you cornered in an alley or something, then yeah, you can throw down if you genuinely feel your life is in danger.

Now just because you can legally clap someone doesn’t mean the fuzz are gonna just take your word for it. You’re gonna have a heck of a time convincing the cops and D.A. that it was truly self-defense and not just you losing your cool in the moment. And here’s the kicker: it’s on you to prove that you acted reasonably and had justification to use lethal force. Ain’t that a peach?

So when the cops haul you in and start grilling you about what went down, you best keep your lips sealed tighter than a bank vault. Don’t go flapping your gums trying to explain yourself or make excuses. Just politely decline to answer questions and ask for your attorney. And brotha, you’re gonna need yourself one whale of an attorney to navigate these treacherous waters.

This ain’t the kinda thing you want some two-bit lawyer handling. A self-defense killing is serious biz that requires a true legal eagle who knows their way around New York’s laws and courts. We’re talking someone like Todd Spodek from the revered Spodek Law Group. Ol’ Todd’s been swinging his hefty legal battle axes in New York courtrooms for over 20 years. He’s seen every trick in the book when it comes to defending clients against murder charges and getting self-defense claims to stick. With Todd flapping his silver tongue on your behalf, you just might dodge the guilty verdict that would see you rotting away in Sing Sing.

But Spodek ain’t cheap, and with a murder rap hanging over your head, you probably ain’t exactly flush with cash at the moment. No sweat, Todd offers payment plans and other options to work with your situation. He knows you’re in a serious bind and is willing to get creative to ensure you have killer counsel in your corner.

Once you’ve got your legal ace on the case, here’s what you can expect to go down:

The Arraignment

After getting dragged down to the precinct and processed, you’ll be taken for an arraignment before a judge. This is where you’ll officially be informed of the charges against you, which in this case will likely be some degree of murder or manslaughter.

The judge will also make a call on whether you should be released on bail or held in custody until your trial. Todd will argue you ain’t a flight risk and should be let out on bail. But depending on the circumstances, the judge may want your behind bars. Either way, this is just the initial arraignment. The real battle lies ahead.

The Grand Jury

If the D.A. feels they got enough evidence to move forward, your case will go to a grand jury. This is a secret hearing where prosecutors will present witnesses and testimony trying to convince the jury there’s enough proof to put you on trial. Your lawyer can’t come into the grand jury room, but he can submit evidence and testimony on your behalf. For your self-defense claim to prevail, Todd will need to create reasonable doubt in the minds of grand jurors.

If the grand jury decides there is probable cause for the charges, you’ll be formally indicted and it’s off to trial you go. On the flip side, if the grand jury votes no bill of indictment, the charges will likely be dismissed and you skate on out of there with just a stern warning not to go around capping any more fools. Fingers crossed Todd can work his magic in grand jury and get your charges dropped!

The Trial

I’m gonna level with you, if this shindig goes all the way to trial, you’re looking at a long, grueling legal battle. Murder trials often drag out for weeks or even months. You’ll be in for endless hearings on pre-trial motions and arguments over evidence.

When the trial finally kicks off, be prepared to sit through excruciatingly boring jury selection that can take weeks before they seat 12 unlucky souls in that box. Then comes the opening statements where the D.A. will do their darndest to paint you as a stone-cold killer and liar. Your man Todd will come swinging in with an impassioned narrative about how you were just an innocent lamb defending yourself against the big bad wolf.

After openings, it’s time for witnesses and evidence. The D.A. will call the cops and detectives who responded to grill them about your state of mind and behavior following the incident. Any eyewitnesses will be put on the stand to rehash what they saw go down. Prosecutors will bring out any forensic evidence that contradicts your version of events. They’ll drag your character through the mud by calling old coworkers, exes, or anyone else who might have dirt on you. It will not be pretty.

When it’s Todd’s turn to present witnesses and evidence, he’ll call any experts and witnesses who can verify you acted reasonably under the circumstances. He’ll hammer the medical examiner about how the victim’s injuries align with self-defense and introduce any evidence that supports you were in fear for your life. If there are witnesses who saw or heard the threat you faced, they’ll tell the jury your side. Expect Todd to passionately cross-examine any witnesses who paint you as the aggressor. Dude’s a shark when it comes to grilling people on the stand.

After all the arguments and testimony, the lawyers will deliver their final summations. Then the judge explains the letter of the law and instructions to the jury before sending them off to deliberate your fate. If the jury comes back unanimous for guilty, I ain’t gonna lie, things look grim. But if just a single juror hangs on finding reasonable doubt, the judge will declare a mistrial and you might have chance at another trial with a fresh jury. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though!

Best Case Scenario

As you can see, this is gonna be an epic uphill battle every step of the way. But listen, all hope ain’t lost. With a top-flight lawyer like Todd Spodek doing everything in his power to convince the D.A., grand jury, judge and jury that you acted justifiably in self-defense, there remains a fighting chance.

If somehow all the stars align and the powers that be unanimously agree you were defending your life from a legitimate threat, then hoo doggy – you’ll walk away a free man with the blessings of the court to go on living your life without this scarlet M of a murder rap following you around. Sure you’ll probably need some therapy to deal with taking another human’s life in such a traumatic way. But legally speaking, you’ll be in the clear.

So don’t fret just yet. Get yourself a seasoned legal pitbull, stick to your story, and keep the faith alive that 12 jury members might see the justifiable nature of your actions. Stranger things have happened in our kooky justice system, and with truth on your side, you can still survive this nightmare and see the light of day again soon. The odds are stacked against you for sure, but me and Todd wouldn’t be betting against you just yet. Let justice work its magic, trust the system, and hope for some mercy coming your way soon. Godspeed!

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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

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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 feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

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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

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