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New York Murder and Manslaughter Criminal Defense Attorneys

Of all the criminal charges one could face, murder and manslaughter are among the most severe. The consequences of a murder or manslaughter conviction are grave and life-altering. Being charged with a serious crime like homicide is not the end of the story, however; it is only the beginning of a long process that does not have to end in decades in prison. Depending on the facts and circumstances, a positive outcome could range from conviction on a lesser charge, probation instead of jail time, or even having the charges dropped and the case dismissed altogether.

The key to getting the best result in a murder or manslaughter charge is contacting an experienced and successful criminal defense attorney who will review all the evidence, conduct a diligent investigation, and fight hard to ensure you are treated fairly and get a smart and aggressive defense. Learn more below about the crimes of murder and manslaughter in New York. If you have been charged with one of these offenses in New York or the Hudson Valley, reach out to Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen for a free consultation with a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney dedicated to providing high-quality representation in every case.

The Seriousness of Murder and Manslaughter Charges

Both murder and manslaughter charges are categorized as homicide offenses, involving the unlawful killing of another person. However, the elements required to prove each offense are very different, as are the possible penalties if convicted. Prosecutors might charge the defendant with murder even if they would have a tough time proving the case, and even if they don’t win a murder conviction they might still get a manslaughter conviction as a “lesser included offense” of murder.

Before pleading guilty or taking a deal based on the offense charged, it’s important to fully understand the difference between murder and manslaughter in New York and what these charges could mean to your future.

  • Murder – New York law delineates different degrees of murder charges. For instance, a charge of first-degree murder, the most serious type, could lead to a life sentence without parole. Even second-degree murder charges carry sentences of 15 to 25 years to life imprisonment.
  • Manslaughter – While still a severe crime, manslaughter involves less malicious intent compared to murder. Convictions can result in penalties ranging from probation to 15 or 25 years in prison, depending on whether it’s Manslaughter in the First Degree (25 years) or Second Degree (15 years).

The key difference between murder and manslaughter lies in “intent” and “premeditation.” Murder in the First Degree requires an intentional killing along with other aggravating circumstances, such as murder for hire, murder of a police officer or judge, torture, or committed as a “fleeing felon.” Second-degree murder also includes an intentional, preconceived killing, but the crime can be charged in other cases of homicide as well, such as a killing that occurs during an especially reckless act that shows a “depraved indifference to human life” or a killing that occurs while committing certain felonies.

Manslaughter, on the other hand, does not require proving the death was intentional or premeditated for a conviction. A killing that was not intentional but happened due to a dangerous or reckless act can be charged as involuntary manslaughter, aka Manslaughter in the Second Degree. First-degree Manslaughter, aka voluntary manslaughter, can be charged when a person intended to cause serious physical injury to another who died. Voluntary manslaughter is often charged in “heat of passion” or “heat of the moment” situations.

Potential Defenses to Murder and Manslaughter Charges

The prosecution must prove every element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. At Dupée & Monroe, our aggressive criminal defense attorneys attack the prosecution’s evidence and theory of the case at every turn, raising reasonable doubt as to every element wherever it exists.

In addition to challenging the strength of the prosecution’s case and raising reasonable doubt, people charged with murder or manslaughter might have any number of defenses available which, if proven, can keep them from being convicted for the charged offense. Some of these defenses include:

  1. Self-Defense: Demonstrating that you acted in self-defense can negate the element of “intentional killing.”
  2. Alibi: Providing an alibi for the time of the incident can create doubt about your involvement.
  3. Insanity: This is a rare but viable defense that could result in commitment to a mental facility instead of prison.
  4. Lack of Evidence: If the prosecution cannot prove all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, a conviction is less likely.
  5. Constitutional Challenges: If law enforcement violated your civil rights during a search and seizure or arrest, evidence they obtained in violation of the law can be suppressed. Some violations merit having the case dropped entirely.

Contact an Experienced Murder and Manslaughter Criminal Defense Attorney at Dupée & Monroe

Navigating through the complexities of murder or manslaughter charges requires specialized knowledge and expertise. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review evidence, consult experts, and develop a tailored defense strategy. At Dupée & Monroe, P.C., we’ll work with you to craft a strategy designed to get you the best result given the circumstances, whether that includes negotiating a deal that avoids serious jail time or fighting for you all the way through trials and appeals.


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