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NY Penal Law § 125.10: Criminally Negligent Homicide

While the crime of homicide often involves intentionally causing the death of another person, it can also involve causing the death of another person through negligence. The crime of criminally negligent homicide involves causing someone's death by acting in a manner that was reckless, inattentive, or careless. In addition if you recklessly fail to act and as a result someone dies, you could also be found to have committed criminally negligent homicide.

Under New York Penal Law § 125.10, you could be prosecuted for criminally negligent homicide if with criminal negligence you kill another person. According to New York Penal Law § 15.05(4), acting with "criminal negligence" means that you failed to perceive a substantial risk that your actions or inaction would result in another person's death. The risk must constitute a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe under the circumstances.


Defendant Deana Olsen was driving her SUV when she lost control of it. The SUV ran off the road, into the front yard of the victim. Olsen's SUV struck and killed the victim. Evidence showed that Olsen was driving erratically and was using an electronic device while driving, resulting in her losing control of her vehicle. Olsen was convicted of several offenses, including criminally negligent homicide. People v. Olsen, 2015 NY Slip Op 574 (N.Y. App. Div., 2015)

In another example, the conductor of a train was operating the train at a high rate of speed. He failed to sufficiently reduce the speed of the train as it approached the final stop. The train crashed into the wall of the station. Miraculously the train operator survived. However, 3 passengers died. The conductor of the train could be charged with 3 counts of criminally negligent homicide based on the speed at which he was operating the train as it pulled into the station.

Related Offenses
  1. Manslaughter in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 125.20
  2. Aggravated criminally negligent homicide: New York Penal Law § 125.11

If you are charged with criminally negligent homicide, a valid defense would be to show that your actions did not constitute a gross deviation from how a reasonable person would act under similar circumstances. Another defense would be that even though you may have acted negligently, your actions did not cause the death of another person. In other words, the death was caused by someone or something other than you.


Because criminally negligent homicide is a class E felony, if you are convicted you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in state prison and be ordered to pay a substantial fine. Your actual sentenced will be based on a number of factors, including you prior criminal history and whether or not you show remorse. For example, in People v Olsen, the judge sentenced Olsen to the maximum of 1-4 years in prison even though she did not have a prior criminal record. The judge stated that the reason for the harsh sentence was that she failed to show remorse for her actions.

New York Penal Law § 125.10: Criminally Negligent Homicide

A person is guilty of criminally negligent homicide when, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are accused of criminally negligent homicide you should immediately contact an experienced attorney. The experienced New York criminal defense lawyers at Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with murder, manslaughter, and other serious crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: Nassau County, the Bronx, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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