If you stand accused of murder, it is necessary to seek the professional expertise of a law firm with an esteemed reputation, a core of hardworking attorneys, and an ethos held company-wide that every man and woman deserves a fair and balanced trial. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we offer just that. We believe in handling all cases with proficiency, compassion and equanimity- our trademark characteristics.

New York State Law holds particularly severe penalties for those found guilty of murder. While New York State does not employ the death penalty, it does enforce long prison sentences for murderers, often disallowing parole for repeat or particularly heinous offenders.

Due to the severity of murder allegations, murder trials are treated with utmost attention, and therefore the highest prosecutorial diligence, and so are amongst the hardest charges to beat. This is why it is especially important to enlist the help of Kaplan Lawyers.

We believe that knowledge is power. The more you know about your circumstances, the better suited you’ll be to fight the charges at hand. That’s why we’ve compiled these facts about the laws that govern murder charges, in their multifaceted entirety. The codification of New York State Law breaks murder charges into two separate degrees: 1st and 2nd degree murder.

2nd Degree Murder

2nd degree murder is the lesser variation of the two murder charges. In instances of 2nd degree murder, some reasonable explanation must be found. There are gray areas abound in 2nd degree murder charges. For example, if a group of criminals flee an separate crime scene, and the murder of an unrelated third-party takes place, all accomplices involved may be held accountable for the death. While only the actual murderer can be charged with 1st degree murder, all others may be charged with murder in the 2nd degree.

It is important to note that even reckless behavior may result in a 2nd degree murder charges. If criminal negligence can be proved, a defendant who, say, irresponsibly mishandled a pistol that discharged and killed a bystander may be convicted of 2nd degree murder. Though, in cases such as these, extreme recklessness would have to be proven, and other factors would have to be taken into account. A term you will likely encounter is “indifference to human life.” A prosecutor will have to prove this in lieu of proving intent.

In New York State, a 2nd degree murder charge comes with a 15-20 year prison sentence.

1st Degree Murder

There is a slightly unusual caveat in New York State Law, in that for a murder to be considered 1st degree, a mitigating factor, in this case an “aggravating” factor, must be met. Here are some examples that qualify as aggravating factors:

  • The murder in question was a murder-for-hire.
  • As mentioned earlier, if an innocent bystander is killed during the execution or escape of another felony, (e.g. a bank robbery, arson) even accomplices can be held liable for the death. The actual perpetrator of a murder of this nature, however, may be charged with 1st degree murder.
  • The victim was tortured before they were murdered.
  • If the victim was sexually assaulted before they were murdered.
  • If a judge, police officer, correctional officer (among “peace officers” of other capacities) is killed while on duty, their killer stands accused of 1st degree murder. The same goes for witnesses of a crime.

In New York State, the penalty for 1st degree murder varies. A judge may decide between either life in prison or imprisonment between 20 and 25 years.

Contact Our NYC Murder Defense Attorneys

As mentioned earlier, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC believe that no one should have to walk alone. Through the use of cutting-edge technology, and with the help of deep, technical know-how, Kaplan Lawyers PC have crafted hard-fought strategies that’ll provide for you a strong and steadfast defense. We know how intimidating a murder charge can seem, and we are here to help. If you’re unsure as to the extent of your rights, or don’t know where else to go, contact us today.