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New York Murder Frequently Asked Questions

What Is First Degree Murder?

The most serious type of murder is first degree. First degree murder is killing with “malice aforethought.” This means that it was intentional and planned. First degree murder carries the harshest penalties, including life in prison or the death penalty in jurisdictions that allow it.

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What Is Felony Murder?

Felony murder is a murder that is committed during the commission of a dangerous felony such as robbery, rape, or arson. Under the felony murder rule, if someone is killed during a felony, whether intentional or not, those involved in committing the felony can be charged with murder even if they are not the killer. The felony murder rule applies only to felonies that are inherently violent or dangerous as death would be foreseeable in those cases.

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What Is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

While both murder and manslaughter are the killing of another person, they are very different crimes with different punishments. Murder is the knowing and intentional killing of someone. Manslaughter is the reckless killing of someone and does not involve the intent to kill. While both crimes are serious felonies, the punishment for manslaughter is generally less severe than for a murder conviction.

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