In the criminal justice system, perhaps no crime carries the same weight as homicide. Homicide cases carry plenty of weight, and many citizens pay attention when a high-profile murder trial is taking place near them. Needless to say, being accused of any form of homicide can be a scary situation.
When you are dealing with a high-stakes trial like murder or manslaughter, you need a team of capable and experienced attorneys in your corner. Our lawyers at The Vitaliano Law Firm have overseen homicide cases before and can fight for you in a court of law.
When you have a high-stakes accusation like murder on your hands, you need to make sure you have the right defense attorney to advocate for you. Our company has won numerous awards as one of the most successful defense firms in New York. If you need a Staten Island homicide lawyer, we can help.
Our founder Michael Vitaliano worked for many years as a prosecutor before turning his attention to defending the accused. He was born and raised in Staten Island, so he brings ties to the community and a textbook knowledge of the law in New York.
Homicide of any kind is a severe crime, but we separate it into a few categories to help people understand it. The difference between degrees of homicide ranges from a short prison stay to life behind bars.
The basic difference between murder and manslaughter is one is intentional, and the other isn’t. New York defines murder as being an intentional, unlawful killing. Justifiable self-defense does not fall under this category. Manslaughter, on the other hand, involves someone dying without any malice or preplanning. Of the two, manslaughter carries lighter sentences.
For example, if you make a plan to kill someone, the state will likely charge you with murder. Likewise, if you get into a heated argument with someone and pull out a knife and stab the other party, this is also murder instead of manslaughter.
Examples of manslaughter include any time you do something that leads to death that nobody intended. For instance, imagine standing on a third-floor balcony with someone near the railing. You give the person a playful push, but they take a tumble and go over the railing and die. You would have a manslaughter case on your hands. Though you didn’t intend for the person to die, your actions were negligent and led to it.
The state of New York views first-degree murder as any act carried out with malice and prior planning. If you draw up a scheme to kill someone or cool off from an altercation and later kill the other party, the state will likely try you for first-degree murder.
Second-degree murder involves malice but no premeditation. You can think of these crimes as heat-of-the-moment killings.
To have a better chance of winning your case or getting a lesser sentence, you need a skilled lawyer. Any form of homicide arrest is worrisome, and even the most lenient penalties include jail time and massive fines. No matter whether you want to maintain your innocence or just accept a guilty verdict, having a defense attorney with you every step of the way is crucial to getting a fair trial or plea deal.
A: First-degree homicide in New York is the most severe version of homicide in Staten Island. This version involves malice and premeditation. If you planned out the killing, or you had a cooling-off period and still went and killed another person, you may face a first-degree murder charge. First-degree murder is the most difficult case to prove, and prosecutors will likely shy away from the charge if they don’t have airtight evidence.
A: Each degree carries different sentencing guidelines. First-degree murder sentences generally come in a range of 25 years to life. Second-degree murder will net you 15 years minimum. Second-degree manslaughter can have as low of a sentence as just 3 1/2 years. If you find yourself on the wrong end of a murder arrest, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss what kind of jail time you may be looking at if the jury finds you guilty.
A: Criminally negligent homicide will net you sentences of up to four years in state prison. You may also be looking at a hefty fine. New York considers criminally negligent homicide a Class E felony. Your sentence will depend on a few factors. You may earn a longer sentence if you have a prior criminal record or for not showing any guilt over the incident. Judges have plenty of latitude in determining sentences.
A: While the two crimes may seem similar at first glance, you’d prefer to be facing a negligent homicide charge than one of manslaughter. Manslaughter is treated more harshly by New York and carries heavier penalties for those found guilty. Generally speaking, higher levels of homicide carry more scrutiny for judges and juries to convict defendants. If you want to take your trial to court, a lawyer can represent you and help explain your side of the story. They can bring up mitigating circumstances to a jury and help them understand your view of what led to the killing. If you want to take a plea deal, a Staten Island homicide lawyer can help negotiate to get you a lighter sentence.
Homicide is one of the most severe crimes in the Empire State, and you open yourself up to a massive prison term if you choose to go it alone. With an experienced Staten Island homicide lawyer on your side, you’ll have a fighting chance in the court of law and when dealing with prosecutors. Contact us at The Vitaliano Law Firm today for a free consultation and an appraisal of your situation. Every second counts in a homicide trial, so don’t wait.