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What Are Some Defenses I Can Use During a Homicide Case?

Homicide and murder are often considered the same, but in reality, murder is one type of homicide that exists. Homicide is defined as the killing of one person by another. This killing can come in three forms, called involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, and murder. For more information about the penalties and defenses you can use during your homicide case read on and contact a skilled New City violent crimes lawyer for legal representation.

What Are the Penalties for Homicide in New York?

Homicide is an extremely serious crime across the United States. Because of the violent nature of the crime, the penalties are extraordinarily severe. The following are general consequences you may face if convicted of homicide.

Involuntary manslaughter:

  • Class C felony
  • Up to 15 years of imprisonment

Voluntary manslaughter:

  • Class B felony
  • Up to 25 years of imprisonment

Second-degree murder:

  • Class A-1 felony
  • 15 to 25 years of imprisonment or longer depending on the circumstances of your case

First-degree murder:

  • Class A-1 felony
  • 20 to 25 years to life of imprisonment OR
  • Life in prison without parole

These are standard penalties, but any of the above charges may come with a lengthier prison sentence, substantial fines, probation, mandatory community service, and more.

What Are the Best Defenses for Homicide Cases?

Every case is unique so there is no way to know which defensive tactic will work best for your situation. However, there are general defenses that can be employed under certain circumstances.

Some defenses, including the following, may allow you to have your charges fully dismissed.

Innocence/mistaken identity: Maybe you were arrested for a crime you did not commit. If this is true and the prosecution’s case relies on witnesses who identified you, you may be able to provide an alibi or discredit the witness testimony to prove to a court that you did not commit the crime.
Self-defense: Homicide may be justifiable in certain situations. If someone was attacking you and you believed it was necessary to use physical or deadly force to protect yourself or others, you may not be convicted.

If you did have a part in the death of the victim there are defenses you can use to have your charges lessened. As discussed, the penalties are quite severe so it can make a big difference in your sentencing if you are able to have your charges reduced to a lower crime.

Insanity: Certain crimes require a specific mental state of wilfulness and premeditation. If you were unable to form the mental state because of insanity you could have your charges reduced.
Intoxication: Similar to insanity, if you were intoxicated or unwillingly intoxicated you were likely unable to form the required mental state to willfully commit the homicide.
Overcharge: The prosecution may be overcharging the situation, for example, if they are bringing murder charges but you committed voluntary manslaughter.

Speak with your attorney to discuss which defense will work best for your case.

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