Murder is one of the most serious and potentially life-altering charges you can face. A murder conviction can result in the loss of freedom for the remainder of your life. Sometimes homicide cases are highly charged cases that generate a lot of public attention. Prosecutors feel pressured to get the maximum penalty and a guilty verdict on as many charges as possible.
The minimum sentence on a murder charge is 15 years to life. If you or a loved one has been charged with murder, it’s critical you get a criminal defense attorney that understands the prosecutor’s mindset and has the experience and investigation team to make the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Homicide Laws: Homicide vs. Murder
“Homicide” and “murder” are often used interchangeably. However, the words refer to separate crimes. Homicide is the sometimes accidental killing of another person. Murder is the intentional killing of another person. Despite the differences, being charged with either one can result in permanently life-altering consequences. If you’ve been charged with any of the following you need to contact an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer right away:
- Criminally negligent homicide
- Aggravated criminally negligent homicide
- Aggravated murder
- Aggravated vehicular homicide
- Vehicular manslaughter
Homicide Sentence: Defending a Murder/Homicide Charge in New York
The crime of murder has two important elements:
- The defendant intended to kill the victim
- The defendant killed the victim
If the defendant did not intend to kill, then the defendant is usually found guilty of a lesser crime, such as manslaughter. A murder charge in New York is separated into degrees based on several factors. The prosecution must plead and prove for each degree.
Murder in the second degree will typically be charged when the defendant allegedly intentionally kills another person without any mitigating factors. Additionally, it may be the charge when the defendant unintentionally causes the death of an innocent bystander during the act of or flight from a felony crime.
An intentional killing may be upgraded to first-degree murder is the following factors come into play:
- The victim or intended victim was a police officer, judge, ambulance driver, peace officer or other class of individual identified in the statute, and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known the status of the victim, and the victim was acting in his or her official duties at the time of the murder.
- The victim was a witness to a crime, and the murder was committed to prevent the victim from testifying.
- The murder was a “murder for hire” or contract killing.
- The defendant acted in an especially cruel and manner and intended to inflict torture upon the victim prior to death.
The Importance of the Discovery Process in a Homicide/Murder Case
Admissible vs. Inadmissible Evidence
Because murder is the most serious of all crimes, the prosecution will utilize every type of evidence possible, including crime scene forensic evidence, DNA evidence, blood type analysis and ballistic and other weapons evidence. Other materials used may include witness statements, police reports, expert reports, video, and photographic evidence.
It’s important for defendants to hire an experienced lawyer that knows how to navigate the discovery process and ensure that only admissible evidence is allowed during the trial and that no inadmissible or irrelevant evidence is allowed.
New York Murder/Homicide Defense Attorney Gilbert C. Parris
Successfully defending against a murder charge is difficult but can be done with the right attorney. Criminal defense lawyer Gilbert C. Parris has been practicing criminal law for over 20 years. He spent years on the other side working as a State Prosecutor in Kings County, NY. He leverages his unique experience on both sides of the courtroom to build strong defense strategies for every client.
Put yourself or your loved one in the hands of an experienced New York Homicide attorney and get the best chance for a favorable outcome.