In the state of New York, there are two general types of manslaughter: involuntary and voluntary. Both are extremely serious criminal charges, and both can result in drastic punishment under the law. If you have been charged with either type, it’s probably in your best interest to talk to a Brooklyn manslaughter lawyer who understands our criminal justice system and can help preserve your rights as you navigate the court process.
Could You Be Convicted of Manslaughter?
New York law is very clear: a person is guilty of manslaughter when they recklessly cause the death of another person or when they have the intent to cause serious physical injury to another person and then cause the death of that person.
You could also be convicted of aggravated manslaughter if the victim is engaged in official duties as a:
However, in order for a jury to convict you of aggravated manslaughter in the first or second degree, you must have known or should have reasonably known that the victim was performing his or her duties in one of those lines of work.
Manslaughter 1 Charges in Brooklyn
Manslaughter in the first degree is a Class B felony. You may hear it referred to as voluntary manslaughter because it involves the intent to harm someone.
If the state is charging you with first-degree manslaughter, the prosecution will have to prove that you intended to seriously physically harm the victim and that when you did so, you caused his or her death.
When the law refers to serious physical injuries, it means the impairment of a person’s physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death or actually causes death. It could also refer to injuries that cause “serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”
If your primary purpose was to cause serious physical injury to another person and that person died, the state can charge you with first-degree manslaughter. This includes the intent to cause a child physical injury and, in the process, causing that child’s death. (A child in this case is a person under the age of 11 years old.)
Manslaughter 2 Charges in Brooklyn
Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class C felony. You may hear second-degree manslaughter referred to as involuntary manslaughter because there’s no actual intent to kill someone involved.
The key to second-degree manslaughter is reckless behavior. In order for your reckless behavior to be considered part of a second-degree manslaughter charge, you must have:
Engaged in some type of behavior that created or contributed to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that someone will die
Been aware of the risk and consciously disregarded it
The risk must be seriously out of line with the types of risks a “reasonable person” would take in a similar situation.
What that really means is that you willfully put others at risk of death without caring about the consequences.
Aggravated Manslaughter (1 and 2)
First-degree aggravated manslaughter and second-degree aggravated manslaughter follow the same paths as what we’ve already described. However, if the victim was a peace officer or a police officer, the state can tack on the aggravated charge.
First-degree aggravated manslaughter is a Class B felony; second-degree aggravated manslaughter is a Class C felony.
Finally, aggravated manslaughter in the first degree can be classified one more way: it’s the intentional homicide of a police officer or peace officer when the person who committed the crime is under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance. It is also a Class B felony.
Possible Manslaughter Defenses Under New York Law
Your lawyer will begin building your defense as soon as he hears the facts surrounding your case. No two cases are the same, so your attorney will have to understand exactly what happened before he can defend you in court.
Some common defenses to manslaughter charges include:
Defense of another person
Mental disease or defect
What to Do if You’re Accused of Manslaughter in Brooklyn
Do not talk to police, even if you are innocent. When they tell you that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, they mean it. The first thing you should do is get in touch with an attorney who can help preserve your rights.
If you’re convicted of manslaughter, you could spend up to 20 years in prison. It’s incredibly important that you call a manslaughter lawyer as soon as possible – preferably before you answer any questions or talk to investigators.
You can’t take a gamble with your future, especially when it means you could spend the next two decades in prison. Call or text me right away at 917-856-1247 or get in touch with me online so I can help you.