Defense Against Homicide Charges in New York

How Can I Prove My Actions Were In Self-Defense?

Homicide or murder involves the act of killing another human being. Homicide has long been considered one of the most serious crimes a person can commit, and any murder charge must be vigorously defended against. In the state of New York, murder charges include first-degree murder, second degree, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. These charges vary in severity, depending largely on the level of intent of the defendant. Homicide charges could result in many years in prison and a permanent felony conviction. Our NYC homicide defense lawyers explore the crime of homicide and potential defenses you can raise below.

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First Degree Murder

First-degree murder in New York is charged where the victim is killed in furtherance of, or in flight from, a specific crime, including robbery, rape, arson, kidnapping, burglary, and sexual abuse. The crime of first-degree murder requires that the defendant have a specific intent to kill the victim, not just to commit the felony. Further, the defendant’s actions must have personally caused the victim’s death. Penalties for first-degree murder can include life imprisonment without parole.

Second Degree Murder

Second-degree murder can be charged under a number of circumstances, including:

  • When with intent to kill another, the defendant causes the death of that person or a third party;
  • The death occurs under circumstances demonstrating a depraved indifference to human life;
  • Killing another while committing a felony offense, with intent to commit the felony but not the murder.
  • The penalty for second-degree murder is a minimum of 15 years in prison, and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Potential Homicide Defenses

Self-defense is one of the most important defenses against homicide charges. New York has a self-defense rule known as the “castle doctrine.” Per this doctrine, you are authorized to use deadly force to defend your home against intruders. If your murder charge involved the defense of your home, the charges against you should not stand.

You also have the right to defend your person against physical force. If you reasonably believed you were in danger, then deadly physical force may be justified. Presenting your strong self-defense argument will require a careful analysis of the circumstances surrounding the incident. In addition to self-defense, other potential murder defenses could include questioning the identification, attacking the element of intent, and potentially raising mental health issues. Contact a criminal defense lawyer to get started mounting your defense today.