NYC Murder Lawyer Cody Warner Discusses Homicide Charges 

Murder and manslaughter are the most serious criminal charges you can face. With so much at stake, it’s essential to develop a strategic defense for your case. NYC Murder Lawyer Cody Warner leaves no stone unturned by thoroughly investigating his cases and exploring all defense strategies so that his clients get the best possible results. 

Homicide in NYC

Homicide is the general category of crimes that includes murder and manslaughter. New York Penal Law Section 125.00 defines homicide as “conduct which causes the death of a person under circumstances constituting murder, manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree, or criminally negligent homicide.” Generally, crimes involving homicide are differentiated based on the intent of the accused. 

How is Murder Defined in New York?

New York law has two degrees of murder as well as aggravated murder. All murder charges are class A-I felonies, the most serious type of felony charge possible. If convicted, you could face life in prison. 

Murder in the First Degree

Murder in the First Degree is the most serious murder charge you can face. Under P.L 125.27, you can be charged with murder if the prosecution believes you killed another person with the intent to do so, and an additional factor existed, such as: 

  • The killing of a police officer, firefighter, correctional officer, or similar person.
  • The killing of a witness in order to prevent their testimony.
  • The killing occurred during the commission of another specific serious crime.
  • The killing was done in exchange for money from a third party.

The key element in a Murder in the First Degree charge is intent. The prosecution must prove you intended to cause the death of another person. However, you can still be charged with Murder in the First Degree if you failed to kill the intended person, but killed someone else. 

The statute also provides an affirmative defense – you were “under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse.” In other words, you cannot be convicted of Murder in the First Degree if you acted “in the heat of passion.” For example, someone who killed another person who purposefully abused their child may be able to avoid a conviction to Murder in the First Degree. 

If you have been charged with Murder in the First Degree, contact an NYC murder lawyer as soon as possible so that you can get started developing the best defense strategy for your case. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate the prosecution’s evidence and determine what defenses may be available to you.

Murder in the Second Degree

P.L 125.25 is charged when a person kills another person with the intent to do so. Unlike Murder in the First Degree, Murder in the Second Degree does not require an enhancing factor such as the killing of a police officer or witness in a case. However, there are other scenarios where you may be charged with Murder in the Second Degree even if you did not intend to kill a person: 

  • You caused death to another person as a result of reckless conduct with a depraved indifference to life that created a grave risk of death. 
  • You caused the death of someone under 11 years old as a result of reckless conduct with a depraved indifference to life that created a grave risk of physical injury or death. 
  • You caused the death of someone under 14 years old during the commission of a serious sexual offense.
  • You caused death to another person in the commission of a specific serious crime.

If you have been charged with Murder in the First Degree or Murder in the Second Degree, you face serious consequences if the prosecution proves that you are guilty. An NYC murder lawyer like Cody can fully investigate your case and develop the best strategy for your case so that you can obtain the best possible result. 

What is Aggravated Murder?

Under P.L. 125.26, you can be charged with aggravated murder in the following situations: 

  1. You intentionally caused the death of a police or peace officer while they were performing their official duties. 
  2. You intentionally caused the death of a firefighter, EMT, ambulance driver, or other medical professional who were responding to an emergency.
  3. You intentionally caused the death of a correctional officer.  
  4. You intentionally caused the death of someone under the age of 14 and you intended tto inflict torture upon the victim. 

The prosecution must prove that you intended to cause the death of the victim. You may be able to successfully defend against murder charges if you can establish that you did not intend to cause the death of the victim. 

An NYC murder lawyer like Cody can fully investigate your case to create a strategic defense plan for your case. 

An NYC Murder Lawyer Explains Manslaughter Charges 

Manslaughter is another type of homicide that generally does not include the intent to kill another person. Under New York law, you can face the following manslaughter charges: 

While a manslaughter charge is less serious than a murder charge, the consequences you face are still severe. If you have been charged with manslaughter, contact an NYC murder lawyer who can develop a plan of action to get you the best possible result. 

Manslaughter in the First Degree

Under P.L. 125.20, Manslaughter in the First Degree occurs in the following situations: 

  1. You caused someone’s death as a result of intending to cause serious physical injury.
  2. You caused the death of another person while intending to kill someone else.
  3. You caused the death of someone under the age of 11 through conduct that created a grave risk of serious physical injury. 

Manslaughter in the First Degree is a class B felony. If convicted, you could face a prison sentence of up to twenty-five years or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 

Manslaughter in the Second Degree

Under P. L. Section 125.15, Manslaughter in the Second Degree occurs in the following situations: 

  1. You recklessly caused the death of another person; or
  2. You intentionally caused or aided another person to commit suicide.

Manslaughter in the Second Degree is a class C felony. If convicted, you face a prison sentence of up to fifteen years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 

Most instances of Manslaughter in the Second Degree charges involve allegations of recklessness. Seemingly insignificant facts can make a tremendous difference in your case. An NYC murder lawyer can carefully analyze the facts and build a defense that could result in an acquittal. 

NYC Murder Lawyer Cody Warner Answers Your FAQs

Can I be charged with murder if I’m defending myself? 

You can be charged with murder even if you were defending yourself. Self-defense is an affirmative defense, meaning that it must be raised by the defendant. Under New York law, you may have a successful self-defense claim for murder if: 

  1. You reasonably believed that the other person was using deadly force or was about to use deadly force; and
  2. You were unable to safely retreat. 

An NYC murder lawyer can gather the evidence needed for your defense so that you can obtain the best possible outcome.

What is the difference between manslaughter and negligent homicide?

P.L 125.10 defines Criminally Negligent Homicide as when one person causes the death of another as a result of criminal negligence. Criminally Negligent Homicide can be very difficult to distinguish from manslaughter because both involve unintentional killings. 

The difference lies in the nature of the conduct that resulted in death. In general, manslaughter is charged when the accused recklessly disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk, whereas Criminally Negligent Homicide is charged when a person fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk. While negligent behavior that results in death would not result in a manslaughter charge, it could result in a Criminally Negligent Homicide charge.

For this reason, Criminally Negligent Homicide is a class E felony, a lesser charge than manslaughter, which is a class B (Manslaughter in the First Degree) or class C (Manslaughter in the Second Degree) felony. 

What is a “Crime of Passion” killing?

A “crime of passion” killing is one where the accused killed someone else while in an extremely emotionally disturbed state. However, the defendant’s emotional state must be considered reasonable under the circumstances and the defendant must have acted without a “cooling off” period. In other words, the defendant acted in the heat of the moment. 

Speak with NYC Murder Lawyer Cody Warner Today

Whether you are facing murder or manslaughter charges, NYC Murder Lawyer Cody Warner can answer your questions and assess your case to develop a comprehensive defense strategy.  Call or email Cody today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.