Murder is the most heinous of crimes. The taking of someone’s life is always met with emotion and the desire by the victim’s family as well as law enforcement to assign responsibility for the crime. In a murder case there will be considerable pressure for law enforcement and the District attorney to convict somebody. The pressure to convict can sometimes lead to its own injustices.
Anyone who has been accused or arrested for murder or attempted murder should seek legal representation immediately.
Homicide Attorneys in Queens, New York
Homicide is the most serious offense a person can be charged with. Even an attempted murder charge can carry severe penalties. If you are convicted, you are almost guaranteed a mandatory prison sentence. Any person accused of murder or attempted murder should seek an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
Murder charges are complex, and are nearly impossible to defend without a skilled criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested for murder, it is imperative that you have an experienced and skilled attorney on your side. The attorneys at Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner understand the ins and outs of New York penal laws. We will work tirelessly to help you obtain the best possible results for your case.
Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner founder, Rochelle S. Berliner, has nearly three decades of practice in criminal law, about half of which was spent as a prosecutor. She is familiar with the operations and techniques used in the District Attorney's Office. Ms. Berliner and her team understand how to use the evidence to win over juries. Do not give up hope, and do not speak to law enforcement. Call an attorney. You have legal options with the attorneys at Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner.
The attorneys at Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner defend those accused or murder or attempted murder throughout New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Call the attorneys at Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner, and schedule your free consultation today.
Overview for Murder Offenses in New York
- Second Degree
- First Degree
- Statute of Limitations
- Admissible Defenses
- Additional Resources
New York Murder in the Second Degree in Queens, New York
The law in New York classifies murder under three categories. New York Penal Law § 125.25 outlines the elements the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, for an alleged offender to be convicted of murder in the second degree.
For a person to be charged with murder in the second degree, he or she:
- Had intent to cause death of another person and caused that death; or
- Evincing depraved indifference to human life recklessly engaged in an act that created a grave risk of death to another person and caused the death of another person; or
- acting alone or in concert with others, committed or attempted to commit a specified felony (including robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, rape, and sexual abuse) and, in the course of and in furtherance of such crime or of immediate flight therefrom, caused the death of a non-participant;
- Being at least 18 years old and while in the course of committing rape or other sexual offenses, intentionally caused the death of another person under the age of 14; or
- under circumstances demonstrating a "depraved indifference to human life," being 18 years old or more recklessly engaged in conduct which creates a grave risk of serious physical injury or death to a person less than 11 years old, and caused the death of such person; or
Murder in the Second Degree is a Class A-1 felony and carries a prison sentence of between 15 and 25 years. However, if the victim was under 14 years old and died during the commission of a sexual offense, the offender may be subject to life imprisonment without parole.
Aggravated Murder under New York Law
The state of New York is protective of its law enforcement officers and emergency care personnel. If the intended victim of a murder is within that class of protected individuals, the accused could be facing an aggravated murder charge. Aggravated murder charges can still arise even if the emergency care worker or officer was not the intended target but was killed during the commission of the murder.
The officer or emergency care worker must have been killed while performing his or her professional duties and the accused was aware of the victim’s occupation. The protected class of worker includes the following:
- Police officer;
- Firefighter, emergency technician, paramedic, ambulance driver, physician, or any other type of person who is performing emergency response activities during the offense;
- Peace officer; or
- Employee of a state or local correctional facility.
Aggravated murder charges can also arise from the intentional murder of someone who was 14 years old or younger and the accused tortured the victim.
A conviction for an aggravated murder charge is classified as a Class A-I felony. The maximum penalty for aggravated murder is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Murder in the First Degree in Queens, New York
Murder in the first degree joins aggravated murder as the highest offense for a homicide case. What separates a first degree murder case from lower level homicides is who the intended victim was, the circumstances of the act, and the purpose of the crime.
The state of New York has several scenarios that call for a First Degree murder charge. These are some of the circumstances that may give rise to a First Degree murder charge.
- Killing Witnesses - The victim had witnessed a crime committed on a prior occasion and was killed to prevent the any testimony in any criminal action or proceeding;
- Revenge Killing - The victim had previously testified in a criminal action or proceeding and the killing was committed for the purpose of exacting retribution. Killing an immediately family member of a testifying witness as an act of retribution is also a First Degree murder;
- Intimidation Killing - The victim was an immediate family member of a witness to a crime committed on a prior occasion. The killing must have been committed for the purpose of preventing or influencing the testimony of a witness;
- Killing During Life Sentence - The accused killed while serving a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years;
- Killing During Prison Break - The accused killed during escape from prison or jail;
- Murder for Hire - The accused hired another person to kill the victim for something of pecuniary (monetary) value;
- Serial Killer - The accused caused the death of two or more people within New York State in separate criminal acts within a 24-month period;
- Torture Killing - The accused acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner and intentionally inflicted torture upon the victim prior to their death;
- Killing a Judge - The accused killed a judge and was aware that the victim was a judge; or
- Terrorist Killing - The accused killed a victim during or to further an act of terrorism.
New York has also adopted what is known as “Felony Murder.” Under the doctrine of felony murder, if a person intentionally kills someone during the commission of a felony, they can be charged with Murder in the First Degree. The felonies that can give rise to a First Degree murder charge include the following:
- Burglary in the First Degree
- Burglary in the Second Degree
- Kidnapping in the First Degree
- Arson in the First Degree
- Arson in the 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
- Escape in the First Degree
- Killing during the course of committing any of the crimes listed above, the accused committed murder in the second degree. The victim must not be a participant of one of the aforementioned crimes;
A first-degree murder conviction is classified as a Class A-I felony. The maximum penalty for this Class A-I felony is life imprisonment without parole.
Statute of Limitations for Murder Offenses in New York
A statute of limitations is a deadline for the District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors have a certain amount of time to file formal charges against an alleged offender for a crime. A statute of limitations begins on the date of discovery or when the crime should have been discovered.
Usually, a statute of limitations is classified by offense level. However, murder is an exception to this rule. If a person commits the act of murder, there is no statute of limitations. This means that even if you committed the offense decades ago, prosecutors still can file formal charges against you.
Defenses to murder charges
There are a number of defenses to a murder charge that could mitigate the potential devastating results of a conviction. These include:
- Extreme emotional disturbance
- Assisted suicide without the use of duress or deception
- The accused (1) did not commit the homicidal act and did not cause or aid in its commission; (2) was not armed with a deadly weapon or other instrument capable of causing death or serious physical injury; (3) had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was so armed; and (4) had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury (for felony murder)
- Mental disease or defect
- Infancy (for persons under 13 years of age)
- Defense of another person
New York Penal Law § 125.25 – Visit the official website for New York's laws and regulations. Read more on the specifics for murder, manslaughter, criminal negligent homicide, and other homicide offenses in New York. See more regarding their adjoining penalties, how the consequences can be enhanced, and what is considered an admissible defense in court.
NYPD Homicide Report – Visit the official website for the New York Police Department (NYPD). Gain access to the NYPD supplementary homicide report for the years of 2016 and 2017. See the differing trends on how the murder was committed, the age and race of the perpetrator, and the relationship that existed between perpetrator and victim.
Queens Lawyer for Homicide in New York
Have you been accused of murder? Are you unsure what to do next? Don’t go any further or speak to any law enforcement without an attorney present. Any statement you make can be used against you in a trial. To protect your rights and freedom it is essential that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Murder is one of the most serious offenses in the state of New York. Due to the severity of the charges, it’s crucial that you hire an attorney. [firm] has a strong focus in criminal defense. Our attorneys use effective defense strategies to preserve the rights of our clients. We are compassionate and understanding of all situations. You will face no judgement from the attorneys at Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner. Contact us today to gain valuable insight into your charges.
The attorneys at [firm] defend clients throughout Queens County, New York County, Kings County, and Bronx County.
Do not hesitate when it comes to homicide charges. Call an attorney at 718-261-5600, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation surrounding your case today.
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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