New York Penal Law § 125.25: Murder in the second degree

If you intentionally or recklessly cause the death of another person, you could face a homicide charge. There are several different offenses in the New York criminal code related to taking the life of another person including homicide, manslaughter and murder. Of all of the crimes related to homicide, the most serious are murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and aggravated murder. Each is a class A-I felony, meaning that if you are convicted you could be sentenced to life in prison. Under New York Penal Law § 125.25, you could be prosecuted for murder in the second degree if you:

  1. Intentionally caused the death of another person,
  2. Recklessly caused the death of another person under the conditions that showed that you had a depraved indifference for human life,
  3. Caused the death of another person during the commission of another crime such as robbery, burglary, arson, or sexual assault, or
  4. Caused the death of another person under the age of 11 during the commission of a sex crime such as rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree or incest in the first degree.
Example

Twenty year old Doug has sexual intercourse with his 9 year old cousin. After warning her to not tell anyone, Heather starts to scream and tries to run away. Doug grabs her and slaps her. Heather falls and hits her head on the corner of a table. Two days later Heather dies from the head injury. Doug could be prosecuted for murder in the second degree as he caused the death of a 9 year old during the commission of the crime of rape.

Related Offenses
  1. Aggravated murder: New York Penal Law § 125.26
  2. Murder in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 125.25
Defenses

Self-defense is an important defense to a charge of murder in the second degree. If you can show that the killing was the result of a reasonable use of force to defend against a reasonable fear that you were about to be killed, then you may have a defense to a murder in the second degree charge.

Sentence

Like aggravated murder and murder in the first degree, murder in the first degree is one of the few crimes in New York that is a class A-I felony. If you are convicted you could spend the rest of your life in prison. The minimum sentence would be 15-40 years.

New York Penal Law § 125.25: Murder in the second degree

A person is guilty of murder in the second degree when:

  1. With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; except that in any prosecution under this subdivision, it is an affirmative defense that:

    1. The defendant acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for, or preclude a conviction of, manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime; or

    2. The defendant's conduct consisted of causing or aiding, without the use of duress or deception, another person to commit suicide. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for, or preclude a conviction of, manslaughter in the second degree or any other crime; or

  2. Under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes the death of another person; or

  3. Acting either alone or with one or more other persons, he commits or attempts to commit robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse, escape in the first degree, or escape in the second degree, and, in the course of and in furtherance of such crime or of immediate flight therefrom, he, or another participant, if there be any, causes the death of a person other than one of the participants; except that in any prosecution under this subdivision, in which the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant:

    1. Did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause or aid the commission thereof; and

    2. Was not armed with a deadly weapon, or any instrument, article or substance readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury and of a sort not ordinarily carried in public places by law-abiding persons; and

    3. Had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article or substance; 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; or

  4. Under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, and being eighteen years old or more the defendant recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of serious physical injury or death to another person less than eleven years old and thereby causes the death of such person; or

  5. Being eighteen years old or more, while in the course of committing rape in the first, second or third degree, criminal sexual act in the first, second or third degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first, second, third or fourth degree, or incest in the first, second or third degree, against a person less than fourteen years old, he or she intentionally causes the death of such person.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are convicted of murder in the second degree you could end up in prison for decades. However, just because you were charged with this crime does not mean that you will be convicted. There may be defenses that may result in the charges against you being dropped or reduced. Thus, it is important that you immediately seek experienced legal guidance. 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.

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