Under New York law, the crime of murder is classified as a Class A-1 felony, which carries with it the most severe possible punishment in state court. Most murders that are charged in New York are brought as murder in the second degree, New York Penal Code section 125.25, which means that a person intentionally caused the death of another person.
However, there are those crimes that include one or more of the state designated aggravating factors that results in charges of murder in the first degree, which may further result in a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A person may be charged with murder in the first degree if he committed the crime of murder of second degree and also satisfied one of the aggravating factors, which include:
The charge of murder in the second degree carries with it the potential for a period of incarceration of 20 years to life. Many times a person who is accused of the crime of murder in the second degree will attempt to argue that there was no intent to kill, thereby trying to get the charged reduced to a lesser charge, such as manslaughter in the second degree. This is known as a “mitigation defense.” However, this only is a viable position when the person did kill the other individual and is trying to minimize the penalties that he faces after conviction.
In addition, it carries with it a high degree of risk because the person effectively has to admit to causing the death of another person. If a person has been improperly charged, the prospect of going to prison for a crime he did not commit can be terrifying, so this is not recommended under these circumstances, in most cases. This is yet another reason why you need to engage the lawyers at Greco Neyland, right away in order to determine what the best course of action for your case will be.
There are many defenses that can be used to challenge a charge of murder in the second degree, including challenging the evidence and witness testimony to show that the police and prosecutors charged the wrong person.
In addition, the evidence may have been collected in violation of the defendant’s due process rights, leading to inadmissibility of the evidence. Affirmative defenses, such as self-defense and “heat-of-the-moment,” where the person acted under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance, also may be used to defend against a murder charge.
A person who faces murder charges may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the circumstances, but it is important that he moves through this sufficiently to get the right legal team representing his interests.
At Greco Neyland, PC, we understand the complex issues that are involved in developing a defense in a murder case. We will work diligently to discover every fact in the case and will use this to craft an effective legal strategy. Call us at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free initial consultation so that we can learn about the charges that you face. We have offices in Manhattan and serve all five boroughs of New York City.
Our NYC criminal defense lawyers assist clients accused of or charged with the following: