New York Murder Defense Lawyer

A Reputation for Results in Serious Cases

Murder and manslaughter are among the most serious crimes possible in any jurisdiction. In the state of New York, convictions can result in severe penalties ranging from 15-25 years of incarceration, life sentences, and even the death penalty. If you or someone you know has been charged with murder or manslaughter, it is essential that they speak with a New York criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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Homicide Charges

Homicide is a blanket term which covers a wide range of situations related to actions or inaction which result in the death of another. There are many degrees and classifications between these crimes which are determined based on the intention of the accused, the motives behind their actions, and the means in which a murder was carried out. All homicide charges require the services of a New York criminal defense lawyer.

In the state of New York, the following homicide charges are possible:

  • Murder in the 1st Degree: This homicide charge results from the planned killing of another with premeditated intention.
  • Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree: This homicide charge refers to a death caused during another criminal act but without premeditation or specific malefic intent.
  • Manslaughter in the 1st Degree: This homicide charge refers to an accidental killing which occurs as a result of intentional choices to injure or otherwise cause harm. It can also refer to the death of someone while attempting to murder a third party.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree: This homicide charge results from the unintentional killing of someone while violating state traffic laws or driving under the influence of intoxicants whether drugs or alcohol.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter in the 1st Degree: This homicide charge results from the death of someone by violating state traffic laws with a suspended license at the time of the crime.
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide: This homicide charge results from careless or reckless behavior which leads to a death.
  • Aggravated Criminally Negligent Homicide: This homicide charge results from careless or reckless behavior which leads to the death of a police officer while they were performing official duties.

Call the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC

At our firm, we know that time is of the essence. This is why we are available 24/7 to guide you through your entire case. Our New York murder defense attorney provides honest defense solutions to help you get results.

Our office offers a free confidential initial consultation. Reach us at (718) 878-3781.

Directly causing the death of another person is homicide. The manner of homicide can vary from physical attacks to letal poisoning. Taking the life of another person under New York law is subject to charges of homicide, which has various categories including manslaughter and murder.

Degrees of Murder

The most serious homicide offenses are first and second degree and aggravated murder. First degree and second degree murder relates to the killing of another individual that was either planned or premeditated or the result of recklessness and depravity of human life.

Second degree murder can most accurately be described as the middle ground between first degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Aggravated murder is in its own category and relates specifically to the killings of people who are employed in law enforcement, emergency response or corrections. You can also be charged with aggravated murder if you kill someone who is 14 years old or younger in a particularly aggressive and cruel manner.

New York penal code § 125.26 is used when charging a person who had the intent to kill another individual and the victim was a law enforcement or corrections officer, paramedic, physician or person under the age of 14.


George is currently serving a lifetime prison sentence for first degree murder; one night, a riot breaks out in the jail. As corrections officers storm the room, George tackles one to the ground, assaults and strangles him to death. George is eventually subdued by other officers and will be charged with aggravated murder of a correctional facility worker.


The primary defense for aggravated murder is emotional disturbance. In order for this argument to be valid, you would have to demonstrate that you were under extreme emotional duress at the time of murder and acted on circumstances with a reasonable explanation. Failure to adequately justify the emotional distress will result in a failed defense; proof of extreme emotional distress that resulted in murder does not mean you won’t be charged at all. Instead, you may be charged with manslaughter.

The purpose of a murder defense is not to completely deny allegations when there is evidence you committed the crime. Instead, your defense argument should focus on demonstrating the just cause for homicide. Self-defense, for example, is a reasonable argument, but it does not completely justify murder.

A realistic murder defense should seek reduction in the severity of the charges or lesser jail time rather than complete exoneration.

Jail Sentence

Aggravated murder is a class A-1 felony, which is the highest degree a criminal can be persecuted.

In many cases, class A felonies would be qualifications for the death penalty, but New York abolished capital punishment in 2007. As an alternative, people who are charged with a class A-1 felony are subject to a lifetime sentence without the possibility of parole.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

If you’re facing charges of aggravated murder in the state of New York, working with a criminal defense attorney can help you reduce your sentence or have the charges dropped altogether.

People have a right to a lawyer from the state, but choosing your own defense attorney demonstrates responsibility. Working with a criminal defense lawyer can help you formulate and present a much more sound argument; defense lawyers understand the legal system and potential defenses for various crimes including murder. Time is of the essence in criminal defense cases, and working with an attorney can have your sentence reduced or dropped.

Even if you’ve confessed to aggravated murder, a criminal lawyer can help you lower your sentence or become eligible for parole.

New York Penal Law § 125.27: Murder in the first degree

If there is any kind of intent behind the killing of another person, then you can be charged with first-degree murder in New York. You will notice that there is more than one offense related to the killing of another person according to the laws that are stated. First-degree murder is the most serious charge and often requires the assistance of an attorney so that you understand your rights and so that the proper defenses can be used in the courtroom setting. Each murder charge that is listed in the state, such as first-degree or second-degree, carries a felony charge. When you go to court, you could be convicted of the crime of murder. This means that you could be sentenced to spend the rest of your life in prison. There are a few different components that are a part of being charged with first-degree murder.

You could be charged with first-degree murder if you intentionally killed a police officer or another member of law enforcement. The killing could have involved that of a firefighter or another emergency responder who was responding to provide assistance in an emergency situation. You can be charged if you had intent behind the killing of an employee of a correctional facility or caused the death of someone who was a witness to a crime and you wanted the person not to be able to testify. First-degree murder can be charged if you committed the killing during the commission of a felony crime or if you killed another person for profit. If you’ve been convicted in the past of killing someone in the second degree, then you can be charged with first-degree murder if you have intent behind another killing.

Two men kidnap a woman and ask for a ransom in the amount of $500,000. One of the men hits the woman on the head so that she can’t leave. The woman dies because of the injuries received from the wound. Since the men committed the crime of first-degree kidnapping and the woman died while they were in the commission of the crime, they would also be charged with first-degree murder.

They key to first-degree murder is that there has to be intent behind the killing of the other person. If there is no clear intent to kill the other person or there was no other crime in progress, then you likely won’t be charged with first-degree murder. However, if the victim was a member of law enforcement or another government agency, then you could be charged with the crime even if there was no clear intent to kill the person.

A common defense that your attorney could use in court is self-defense. You would have to prove that you were in fear for your life and that you were trying to defend yourself from another person with the only option being the killing of the other person. If the killing was not intentional but accidental, there are a few other defenses that your attorney could use in court to show that you had no plans to take the life of another person. Sometimes, if you kill another in the heat of the moment, then you could be charged with second-degree murder or a lesser charge depending on the circumstances.

In New York, murder is considered a class A-I felony. Even if you receive the minimal sentence for murder, you could still face up to 40 years in prison. Life in prison is at the far end of the sentencing options.

If you are charged with first-degree murder, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible who can prepare the best defense for you.