New York Penal Law § 125.22: Aggravated manslaughter in the first degree

Killing a police officer or peace officer is a serious crime. This is the case even if you did not intend to kill the officer, but you actions indicated that you did intend to injure the officer. Under New York Penal Law § 125.22 you could be prosecuted for aggravated manslaughter in the first degree if:

  1. With intent to cause serious physical injury to a police officer or peace officer performing his or her official duties you cause the death of that officer, or

  2. With intent to cause the death of a police officer or peace officer performing his or her official duties you cause the death of such officer or another officer while acting under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance.

Example

Kiera and Jeb met at a bar. They spent a few hours eating, drinking and chatting. Jeb then asked Kiera to go home with him. Kiera declined. The 2 walked out together and Jeb offered to accompany Kiera to her car. When they reached Kiera's car, Jeb kept asking Kiera to go to his place. Kiera got angry and started to push him away. Finally, she picked up a bottle from the ground and hit Jeb on the head with it. The glass shattered and Jeb fell to the ground. Kiera drove away. Jeb eventually died from his wounds. Jeb was a police officer. Kiera could not be prosecuted for aggravated manslaughter in the first degree because when she hit him Jeb was not in the course of performing his official police duties. In addition, it is not clear that Kiera's intent was to seriously injure Jeb.

Related Offenses
  1. Aggravated criminally negligent homicide: New York Penal Law § 125.15
  2. Aggravated manslaughter in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 125.21
Defenses

If you are charged with aggravated manslaughter in the first degree based on having the intent to cause the officer a serious physical injury, the prosecutor must prove that your intent was to cause an injury that was so serious that there was substantial risk of death, protracted disfigurement or protracted loss of a bodily organ. Just because your actions may have lead to the death of a police officer does not necessarily mean that your intent was to cause the officer a serious physical injury. If your intent was to cause the officer a minor injury or no injury at all, then you have a defense to a charge of aggravated manslaughter in the first degree.

In addition, if you had no reason to know that the victim was a police officer or if the officer was not performing his or her official duty, then a charge of aggravated manslaughter in the first degree would not be appropriate.

Sentence

Because aggravated manslaughter in the first degree is a class B felony, if you are convicted you could be sentenced to up to 25 years in state prison and be ordered to pay a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 125.22: Aggravated manslaughter in the first degree

A person is guilty of aggravated manslaughter in the first degree when:

  1. with intent to cause serious physical injury to a police officer or peace officer, where such officer was in the course of performing his or her official duties and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that such victim was a police officer or a peace officer, he or she causes the death of such officer or another police officer or peace officer; or

  2. with intent to cause the death of a police officer or peace officer, where such officer was in the course of performing his or her official duties and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that such victim was a police officer or peace officer, he or she causes the death of such officer or another police officer or peace officer under circumstances which do not constitute murder because he or she acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance, as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of § 125.25. The fact that homicide was committed under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance constitutes a mitigating circumstance reducing murder to aggravated manslaughter in the first degree or manslaughter in the first degree and need not be proved in any prosecution initiated under this subdivision.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Being accused of killing a police officer or a peace officer is serious. The prosecutor will aggressively seek to convict you. If convicted you could end up in prison for over two decades. If you are accused of aggravated manslaughter in the first degree you should immediately contact an experienced attorney. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, conspiracy, murder and other serious crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529)