Murder

Murder is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit.

According to the New York Police Department (NYPD), New York City has seen the lowest number of murders that it has in decades. To put the drop in perspective, in 1990, NYC saw 2,245 murders, according to ABC News. IN 2017, there were 290 murders. New York City is the largest city in the nation by population, and the drop in murder rates represents the lowest per-capita murder rate in nearly 70 years.

Although New York has seen a drastic decline in murder rates, such crimes still occur. Murder in New York is charged as a class A-1 felony, which carries a sentencing of life in prison without chance of parole.

Moreover, a murder conviction can change many lives, not only that of the defendant, but the lives of those related to the victim, the defendant, and many other players in the criminal trial. It is important to find the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, if ever charged of murder.

Attorney for Murder Charges in Queens, New York

If you or someone you know has been charged with murder in the first or second degree, or aggravated murder in New York, it is imperative that you find an experienced attorney quickly.

A murder charge can be difficult to defend in the criminal courts of New York without the help of a knowledgeable, strategic, and dedicated defense lawyer. Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner is a New York criminal defense firm, that understands the consequences of a criminal conviction and fights for the rights of individuals who have been accused of heinous crimes.

A murder conviction, or even charge, can change your life. You will need a lawyer ready to fight tooth and nail at every step of the way. Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner will handle your case, and help find legal solutions to the charge.

Call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner immediately at 718-261-5600 to schedule a consultation.



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Murder in the Second Degree Under New York Penal Law § 125.25

To prove a person guilty of murder in the second degree under New York Penal Law § 125.25, the State must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant, with the intent to harm another person, caused another person's death.

A person can also be charged with murder in the second degree if, while showing a depraved indifference to human life, he or she recklessly engages in an act that creates a grave risk of death that then causes another's death.

Also, whether acting alone or in a group, a person can be charged with murder of the second degree if he or she commits or attempts to commit robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, rape, a criminal sexual act, or escape; and then causes the death of another person that is not a participant in the underlying crime.


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Aggravated Murder Under New York Penal Law § 125.26

A person may be charged with aggravated murder when, with intent to cause another person's death, he or she causes the death of that person or the death of a third person. The third person must be engaged in performing his or her duties, in addition to these conditions:

  • The intended victim was a police officer who was engaged in performing official duties, and the defendant knew that the victim was a police officer;
  • The intended victim was a peace officer, who at the time of the killing, was engaged in the course of performing his or her official duties and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was such a uniformed court officer, parole officer, probation officer, or youth division employee;
  • The intended victim was a firefighter, emergency technician, ambulance driver, paramedic, physician, or any other type of person performing emergency response activities and was killed while in the course of performing his or her official duties, and the defendant knew or reasonable should have known that the victim was such;
  • The intended victim was an employee of a state or local correctional facility, who was performing his or her duties at the time of death.

The defendant must have been older than 18 at the time that the crime was committed in order to be charged convicted of aggravated murder.

A person can also be charged with aggravated murder if the defendant was more than eighteen years old at the time he or she committed the crime; and with the intent to cause the death of a person younger than 14 years old, he or she causes that person’s death and acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct that was intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to his or her death.

For the purposes of this Statute, torture means, “the intentional and depraved infliction of extreme physical pain that is separate and apart from the pain which otherwise would have been associated with such cause of death.

To be convicted of aggravated murder under these circumstances, the offender must have been older than 18 at the time that the crime was committed.


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Murder in the First Degree New York Penal Law § 125.27

A person may be charged of murder in the first degree if he or she, with the intent to cause the death of another person, causes the death of that person or a third person. and if one of the following circumstances exists:

  • The intended victim was police officer performing official duties and the offender knew or reasonably should have known that the intended victim was a police officer;
  • The victim was a peace officer, parole officer, probation officer, or uniformed court officer performing official duties who at the time of death was performing his or her official duties and the offender reasonably should have known that the victim was such;
  • Victim was a firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, physician, or nurse, who at the time of death was performing his or her official duties, and the offender reasonably should have known that the victim was such;
  • The intended victim was an employee of a state or local correctional facility who, at the time of death, was performing he or her duties at the time of death and the offender reasonably should have known that the victim was such;
  • The defendant was confined at a state correctional institution, at the time of the killing, in custody upon a life sentence, or interned for a minimum sentencing of 15 years during the commission of the killing; or at the time of the killing the defendant had escaped from such confinement or custody while serving such a sentence and had not yet been returned to such confinement or custody;
  • The intended victim had witnessed a crime committed on a prior occasion and was killed prevent the intended victim’s testimony in any criminal action or proceeding or the intended victim had previously testified in a criminal action or proceeding and the killing was committed for the purpose of exacting retribution; or the intended victim was an immediate family member of a witness to a crime committed on a prior occasion and the killing was committed for the purpose of preventing or influencing the testimony of a witness; or the victim was an immediate family member of a witness who had previously testified in a criminal action or proceeding and the killing was committed to enact retribution for the prior testimony;
  • The defendant committed the killing or procured the commission of a killing pursuant to an agreement with a person, other than the intended victim in expectation of the receipt of anything of pecuniary value from a party to the agreement or from a person other than the intended victim actin at the direction of a party to such agreement;
  • the victim was killed while the defendant was in the course of committing or attempting to commit and in furtherance of robbery, burglary in the first degree or second degree, kidnapping in the first degree, arson in the first degree or second degree, rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree or escape in the first degree, or in the course of and furtherance of immediate flight after committing or attempting to commit any such crime or in the course of and furtherance of immediate flight after attempting to commit the crime of murder in the second degree;  provided however, the victim is not a participant in one of the aforementioned crimes and, provided further that, unless the defendant's criminal liability under this subparagraph is based upon the defendant having commanded another person to cause the death of the victim or intended victim;
  • The defendant as part of the same criminal transaction with the intent to cause serious physical injury to death to an additional person or persons causes the death of that additional person or persons, provided that the victim was not a participate to that criminal transaction;
  • The defendant cause the death of two or more people within New York on separate criminal acts within a 24 month period;
  • The defendant acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim’s death.
  • The defendant killed a judge and the defendant killed the victim because he or she was, at the time of the killing, a judge; or
  • The defendant killed a victim in furtherance of an act of terrorism.

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Common Defenses of Murder in in New York

While murder is considered one of the most serious crimes in New York, the law recognizes some defenses to murder charges. Specifically, the State recognizes the following defenses:

  • The defendant was acting under extreme emotion disturbance that can be reasonably explained;
  • The defendant caused another person to commit suicide without the use of duress or deception;
  • The defendant did not commit a homicidal act, nor solicited, requested, commanded, aided, or directly caused a death;
  • The defendant was at no point armed with a deadly weapon, or instrument capable of killing or causing serious injury;
  • The defendant did not believe, in any way, that another participant was armed with a deadly weapon; or know that another participant intended to engage in dangerous conduct.

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Additional Resources

New York State Law | Article 125 – Find the consolidated laws of New York's Penal code on this comprehensive website. Learn more about murder, homicide, manslaughter and article 125 on this informative webpage.


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Find an Attorney for Murder Charges in Queens County, New York

If you have been charged with murder, it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Murder convictions can carry some of the most severe punishments in New York, such as life imprisonment without a chance of parole. Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner understands the severity of these charges, and how it can impact the lives of a wide breadth of people.

Rochelle Berliner has defended clients from almost all boroughs of New York City, and in these counties: Queens County, Kings County, New York County, and Bronx County.

Do not waste any time in finding the legal professionals to stand by your side during these tenuous and difficult times.

Call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today at 718-261-5600 to schedule a consultation.


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Rochelle Berliner
Rochelle Berliner

Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...

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