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Manhattan Homicide Defense Lawyer

New York City Homicide Defense Lawyer

Defense Attorney for Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide Charges in New York City

Causing the death of another person can result in charges of homicide or manslaughter. Different from murder, these charges are based on the lack of intent and may be the outcome of uncontrollable emotions, impetuous choices, domestic violence, drug use, or driving while intoxicated (DWI).

In the aftermath, you may experience strong feelings of regret and anguish, but do not despair. Your life is recoverable with the help of an experienced homicide defense attorney.

The attorneys of Watford Jackson, PLLC have over 45 years' combined experience in defending clients against serious criminal charges in the courts of New York City. Attorneys Joey Jackson and Gregory J. Watford have delivered positive outcomes for hundreds of clients in cases such as DWI, vehicular manslaughter, assault, and criminally negligent homicide.

Four Forms of Criminal Homicide in New York

New York penal law (NYPL) defines homicide as conduct that causes the death of another person. Some forms of homicide are not crimes, such as justifiable self-defense, defense of another person, or early-term abortion. The four forms of criminal homicide, from least to most serious, are criminally negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, and murder. Murder is distinguished by the intent to kill, making it a far more serious crime than the others.

Homicide and Manslaughter Penalties in New York

The maximum penalty for these felony crimes is a fine of up to $5,000 and a fixed prison term of up to 4 years for a class E felony, 7 years for class D, 15 years for class C, and 25 years for class B. For classes D and E only, probation and community service are possible alternatives to prison time.

Criminally Negligent Homicide in New York

Criminally Negligent Homicide occurs when someone causes the death of another person through actions that they failed to perceive as having a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death (NYPL 15.05 and 125.10). This is a class E felony.

The crime is elevated to a class C felony, Aggravated Criminally Negligent Homicide, when the person killed is an on-duty police or peace officer (NYPL 125.11).

Manslaughter Crimes in New York

Second Degree Manslaughter occurs when someone causes the death of another person through actions that they perceived as having a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death yet consciously disregarded the risk, or that they failed to perceive as having such risk solely due to voluntary intoxication (NYPL 125.15). Such actions are defined as "reckless" under New York law (NYPL 15.05). This is a class C felony. Two specific acts of second-degree manslaughter are causing the death of another person in the process of an illegal abortion and intentionally aiding the suicide of another person.

This crime becomes Aggravated Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class B felony, when the victim is an on-duty police or peace officer (NYPL 125.21).

First Degree Manslaughter, a class B felony (NYPL 125.20), occurs when:

  • With intent to cause serious physical injury to a person, the offender causes the death of that person or another.
  • With intent to kill a person, he causes the death of that person or another, but the circumstances do not constitute murder because the offender acts under extreme emotional disturbance.
  • Being 18 years of age or older and with intent to cause physical injury to a child under 11 years of age, the defendant recklessly engages in conduct that causes the death of that child.

This crime becomes Aggravated Manslaughter in the First Degree, a class B felony, when the victim is an on-duty police or peace officer (NYPL 125.22).

Vehicular Manslaughter Crimes in New York

Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class D felony (NYPL 125.12), occurs when:

  • While impaired by drugs or alcohol, someone operates a motor vehicle, boat, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in a manner that causes the death of another person.
  • While a CDL holder is impaired by alcohol, they operate a commercial vehicle carrying flammable gas, explosives, or radioactive materials in such a manner that the hazardous materials cause the death of another person.

The crime is elevated to Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, a class C felony (NYPL 125.13), when the driver has:

  • A blood alcohol content of .18 or higher.
  • A suspended or revoked driver's license due to DUI or refusal of a chemical test.
  • A prior DUI or vehicular manslaughter conviction within the preceding 10 years.
  • Caused the death of more than one person.
  • Caused the death of a child age 15 or younger who was a passenger in their motor vehicle.

The crime of First Degree Vehicular Manslaughter is elevated to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, a class B felony (NYPL 125.14), if the offender was driving recklessly. Reckless driving means operating a motor vehicle in a manner which unreasonably endangers other users of a public roadway.

Homicide of an Unborn Child

New York law considers the killing of an unborn child of more than 24 weeks' gestation to be a homicide (separate from the death of the mother) when the death occurs under circumstances constituting murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or abortion (except when performed by a physician as necessary to preserve the woman's life).

Respected Criminal Defense Lawyers for Homicide Charges

If you have been involved in a car crash, street fight, or other incident in which someone died, you could be charged with manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. You need a tough, experienced defense lawyer at your side. Contact the attorneys of Watford Jackson in our Manhattan office at 855-WAT-JACK or 855-928-5225. We handle criminal court cases in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Rockland County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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