Murder vs. Manslaughter | What is the Difference in New York?



    Homicide is the broad term that covers both murder and manslaughter cases. The main difference between manslaughter and murder is your intention, which will alter what penalties you are up against. Find out how the state of New York distinguishes between the two and how an experienced Garden City, NY violent crime lawyer can help defend your charges.

    How does New York define murder?

    The state of New York breaks murder charges up into two categories: murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree. For instance, you can receive a murder in the first degree charge if you are at least 18 years of age when the crime was committed and it is proven that you intended to kill the victim. Also, the following are proven true:

    • The victim was a law enforcement figure acting in the course of their duties.
    • You were serving a life sentence when you killed the victim.
    • The victim was intentionally killed while you were committing or leaving the scene of a felony.
    • You caused the victim to die under torture or committed an act of terror.
    • The murder was for hire.

    Murder in the first degree is considered a Class A violent felony that is punishable by anywhere between 20 years to life in prison without parole.

    On the other hand, a charge of murder in the second degree is given if you intentionally killed another person or a third party while attempting to kill the original target. However, the following must also be proven to be true:

    • You showed a depraved indifference to human life by acting so recklessly that someone died as a result.
    • The victim was killed in the course of committing another felony.

    The typical sentence for a murder in the second degree charge is anywhere between 15 years to life in prison.

    How does New York define manslaughter?

    The main distinction from murder is that manslaughter lacks the intent to kill, even if death results. The manslaughter in the first degree charge applies when there was a killing of another person when the original intent was to cause serious physical injury. Such action must have been done in the heat of the moment. This is a Class B felony that can result in up to 25 years in prison.

    Contrastingly, manslaughter in the second degree is applicable when you did not intend to kill the victim but acted in such a dangerous and reckless manner that death resulted. It is a Class C felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

    If you are facing any of these offenses, contact one of the Nassau County criminal defense attorneys today.

    Contact Our Long Island Firm

    Criminal matters can change the course of your life forever. This is why you need an experienced attorney who will aggressively combat your charges to help mitigate their long-term effects. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for a criminal defense matter on Long Island or throughout New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We would be happy to assist you.

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