Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Greg Colavecchia, Esq.
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Homicide and Murder Lawyer in Rochester, NY

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney King

Arguably the most severe of all criminal offenses, homicide or murder accusations immediately cast the alleged perpetrator in a negative light. If you are being accused of committing homicide, whether it is planned or caused by negligence, you need to be aware that the public eye and the criminal justice system of New York State may have already determined that you are guilty, despite whatever evidence may or may not be present. At King Law, our Rochester criminal defense attorney is fully aware of the might of the prosecution, and is fully prepared to take it on for you.

No one should have to stand alone before the judge and jury. Contact us today to get the help you need.

Varying Degrees of Homicide Charges

Not all homicide charges are the same. Depending on the circumstances, such as who has lost their life and why, a homicide charge can be broken down into distinct categories. Your chances in court hinge on the actual sort of homicide of which you are being accused.

If you are accused of homicide, you could be charged with:

First-degree murder: The most severe form of homicide, first-degree murder involves planning to take another’s life and then intentionally doing so.

Second-degree murder: Taking another’s life intentionally but without premeditation. This is sometimes called a “crime of passion” as it is often seen in cases where the alleged murderer was incensed or provoked to the point of losing reasoning, which may be used as a defense strategy.

Manslaughter: Generally used to describe cases in which the homicide was completely unintentional, such as vehicular manslaughter in a car accident, but was still caused by criminal actions or negligence. If the criminal actions were done voluntarily, it might be called third-degree murder.

Legal homicide: To defend yourself or another from serious bodily harm, the act of killing another and committing homicide could actually be considered legal. Known more commonly as self-defense, this may prove to be the best argument for your case.

How Can I Build a Defense Against Homicide Charges?

When you are facing charges for any kind of homicide-related offense, it is critical to begin working with a Rochester criminal defense attorney as soon as possible since these are some of the most serious types of criminal charges a person can face. A conviction can result in a significant prison sentence that could be for life. As such, you should begin working on a defense strategy as quickly as you can with assistance from a lawyer. How can you build a strong defense against homicide-related charges in upstate New York? We have some information to help you.

Understand the Elements of Homicide Charges in New York

In order to build a strong defense to the homicide-related charges you are facing, you will need to have a clear understanding of the elements of the offense with which you have been charged. In order for the prosecution to get a conviction, it will need to prove all elements of the offense, and different charges have different required elements. Generally speaking, homicide-related charges in New York frequently include murder (in the first degree or in the second degree) and manslaughter (which can also be charged in the first degree or second degree).

To convict a person of first-degree or second-degree murder, the prosecution must prove intent. In other words, the prosecution must be able to show that you intended to take another life and that you did so. First-degree murder charges usually require premeditation or an aggravating factor, while second-degree murder charges typically are brought in cases without premeditation.

Differently, a manslaughter conviction may not require intent. While a person can be convicted of first-degree or second-degree manslaughter charges when the prosecution can prove that there was an intent to cause serious bodily harm or the suicide of another person, or even to cause a death while acting under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance, the prosecution can also get a manslaughter conviction without proving that the defendant intended to cause serious injury or death. Indeed, second-degree manslaughter includes cases in which a person recklessly causes the death of another under New York law.

Learn About Potential Defense Strategies

Your defense strategy will focus on the specific elements of the charges you are facing, but examples of common defense strategies include but are not limited to the following:

You acted in self-defense or in defense of a third-party;

You did not have the requisite intent to be convicted of murder; 

You have an alibi for the time the act occurred; 

Evidence against you was obtained as a result of an unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment; or


Our experienced New York homicide defense lawyers can evaluate your case and can work with you to develop a defense strategy to beat the charges you are facing. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, it also may be possible to have the charges against you reduced from murder to manslaughter.

Harsh Penalties for Homicide Convictions

If you are convicted of homicide, the legal punishments you could be facing will ultimately vary depending on the details of your case, especially the degree of murder in question. There is no lenient form of punishment, as involuntary manslaughter could still cause you to face years in state prison and thousands in fines. If you are convicted of first-degree murder, you can expect a sentence of at least 20 years in prison, up to lifetime incarceration with no chance of parole.

Call (585) 270-8882 for Legal Counsel, 24/7

If you’re facing violent crime charges, or if you’ve been accused of a violent offense, call King Law at (585) 270-8882 right away!

Need more convincing? Take a moment to browse his history of successful case results and then contact us to learn more.