Aggravated Manslaughter in the Second Degree
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Aggravated Manslaughter in the Second Degree

Aggravated manslaughter in the second degree is a very serious crime in the state of New York, and it’s one that carries a harsh punishment. It’s a Class C felony, and if a jury convicts you of second-degree aggravated manslaughter, you could spend up to 15 years in prison.

If you’re being accused of this crime, the best thing you can do is get in touch with a Brooklyn manslaughter lawyer who understands state laws and can help you navigate through the entire court process.

What is Aggravated Manslaughter in the Second Degree?

Aggravated manslaughter in the second degree is the killing of another human being because of the defendant’s recklessness when the victim is a police officer or peace officer.

Recklessness is the key to manslaughter in the second degree. Some people refer to second-degree manslaughter as involuntary manslaughter because unlike other types of homicide, there is no intent to take a life.

In order for a manslaughter to be considered aggravated, the victim must be a police officer or peace officer engaged in official duty, and the defendant must have known (or should reasonably have known) that.

The list of people termed “peace officers” includes:

  • Ambulance driver
  • Corrections officer
  • Court officer
  • EMT
  • Firefighter
  • Nurse
  • Paramedic
  • Parole officer
  • Police officer
  • Probation officer

How is Aggravated Manslaughter Different from Murder?

People often use the terms manslaughter, murder and homicide interchangeably, but they’re not the same things at all.

Homicide is the killing of another human being. Not all homicides are murders, nor are they all considered manslaughter. Some homicides occur in self-defense or are otherwise legal, but some are not; those that are not are considered murder or manslaughter.

Murder is the killing of another human being when the person kills with malice aforethought (malice aforethought is when the defendant intends to kill someone else without legal justification or an excuse). Murder is illegal.

Manslaughter is classified into two categories: voluntary and involuntary. First-degree manslaughter is considered voluntary and second-degree manslaughter is considered involuntary. First-degree manslaughter is the death of another person when the defendant intended to seriously injure someone, and second-degree manslaughter occurs when the defendant causes another person’s death through recklessness.

The term “aggravated” becomes a factor in manslaughter when the victim is a police officer or peace officer engaged in official duties and the defendant either knew or should have known that was the case.

Could You Be Charged with Aggravated Manslaughter in the Second Degree?

If the state suspects that you caused the death of a police officer or peace officer because of your own recklessness or criminal negligence, they could charge you with second-degree aggravated manslaughter.

Here’s an example: A distraught man gets into his car and speeds recklessly down a surface street in Brooklyn. He doesn’t care about what could happen to others as he doubles the speed limit, turns without signaling and runs through red lights. As a result, he slams into a police officer who is writing a ticket on the side of the road, killing him.

The state could charge the man in the example with aggravated second-degree manslaughter.

If the man hit an unmarked police car and had no idea that the occupant was a police officer, but the police officer died, there may be no reason to believe that he reasonably should have known the occupant was a police officer. The prosecution would have a hard time proving that, so they would most likely not charge him with aggravated second-degree manslaughter. Instead, they could charge him with second-degree manslaughter.

What to Do if You’re Charged with Second-Degree Aggravated Manslaughter in New York City

The sooner you call a criminal defense lawyer, the better. In fact, if you are arrested for any reason, it’s probably in your best interest to get in touch with an attorney.

Before you talk to police or investigators, know that you have the right to remain silent and that you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. All you need to do is politely request to speak to an attorney and remain quiet.

No matter what investigators tell you, and whether you are innocent or guilty of the charges, it’s a good idea to avoid answering any questions. Police can take everything you say and, unfortunately, take it out of context. The last thing you need is for investigators to twist your words and use them against you in court.

Your lawyer will help preserve your rights from the moment he arrives. He will also help ensure that there are no misunderstandings between you and investigators, and he’ll make sure that he speaks in your best interest during your arraignment (that’s when a judge formally reads your charges and asks you to plead “guilty” or “not guilty”).

Talk to a Lawyer Now

If you or someone you care about is under suspicion of aggravated manslaughter in the second degree, there’s no time to waste.

Call my cell phone or text me at 917-856-1247 right now. Send me a note online if it’s easier. The sooner you get in touch with me, the sooner I’ll be able to fight for you or your loved one.