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Staten Island Murder Defense Lawyers

Understanding Murder Charges and Defenses in Staten Island, New York

Types of Murder and Punishments

Murder is the killing of another person, and it’s illegal in Staten Island. It’s also illegal across the world, and it’s not something people can commit without going to jail. It’s one of the worst criminal offenses imaginable, and it’s not one that comes with a fine or a light sentence. Murders in New York go to jail for a minimum of 15 years for committing murder. Like every other criminal act, however, there are always stipulations. Not all murder is the same, not all punishments are the same, and not all defendants are the same. This means you need to learn more about murder and the punishments and defenses possible in a case like this.

There are multiple forms of murder in New York. Each one comes with a different punishment:

  • First-degree murder comes with punishments including a minimum 20 years in prison and a maximum life sentence, and life comes without parole.
  • Second-degree murder comes with a minimum 15-year prison sentence with a maximum 25 years to life in prison sentence.
  • Aggravated murder comes with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole at any point.

The penalties are different for each person charged with murder. The circumstances surrounding the murder, the circumstances of the issue, and the number of times the defendant has been charged with a crime in the past all help a judge and a jury determine what they might issue as a punishment. Mitigating circumstances vary by case.

Not All Deaths are Considered Murder

Some criminal acts of murder are not murder, per se. When a driver gets behind the wheel of a car drunk and runs into someone and kills them, it’s not murder. It’s called vehicular manslaughter. There was a death, it was not intentional, but it wasn’t right. This is when New York law gets a little complicated as legalities are brought to question. Not all death is considered murder, and not all people will receive the same sentence depending on their own background and criminal record.

Someone without a criminal record might not be sentenced as harshly as someone who has been arrested and charged with violent crimes in the past. Punishment also changes based on the age of the victim and the circumstances surrounding the death of a child or elderly person.

Defenses for Murder Charges

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best way to end up cleared of murder charges or to have your charges reduced following your arrest. There are many defenses a criminal defense attorney might work with, and each one is very personal to the case and the defendant in need of a criminal defense attorney.

  1. Self-Defense: This is one of the most common forms of defense when a murder is committed. It comes with the argument that the victim’s intent was to harm the person charged with murder, and the defendant was required to kill this person to stay alive and keep others safe. Self-defense is a good defense when the victim was causing harm, and there is proof this occurred.
  2. Mistaken Identity: When a murder charge is made and an arrest occurs, sometimes the defendant will claim this is a case of mistaken identity. It happens in line-ups, in grainy videos, and even with the help of witness statements. If someone is similar to the person who committed the crime, it’s easy to put a face into the role of murderer by mistake.
  3. Accidents: Not all death caused by someone else is murder. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a terrible accident, such as a vehicle accident. In this case, the charges might be dropped to a form of manslaughter, which comes with a much lighter sentence for anyone charged with this crime.
  4. Insanity: If a person is cognitively unable to behave appropriately or recognize their own actions as wrong, they might be able to cite the issue as insanity. There are various tests both mentally and physically performed, and witness testimony from a doctor and other medical professionals must be acquired to determine insanity as a valid defense with a murder charge in question.
  5. Exercise of Duty: In many cases, the death of another person is committed by someone who works for the law. This is not murder when it’s the death of a suspect putting other people at risk, and it’s going to be called exercise of duty. A criminal defense attorney can help a police officer or other law enforcement officer with this defense when they were off-duty helping strangers or involved in any other situation in which this might occur. It must be proven the act was committed without any personal reason or intent, and that it was necessary in the eyes of the law.

The best defense against any murder charge is a good defense. A criminal attorney can help prove your case, reduce charges, or even have you walk away from court without being charged with anything. It’s your best case scenario to call a criminal defense attorney.


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