Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

What Are Possible Defenses That You Can Use in Criminal Cases?

There are two possible defenses that one could have in one of these cases. One is what we call the SODDI defense, which is Some Other Dude Did it. The other defense, which is more typical in these types of cases, is what’s legally called Justification, and that is almost always a self-defense issue. In other words, if somebody is acting in a reasonable manner of self-defense, then the homicide is excusable. That defense is used more than just about anything else in cases involving killings.

What Are The Potential Sentencing Guidelines For Murder, Homicide And Manslaughter Charges?

For murder, the potential sentencing guideline is a mandatory life imprisonment sentence. On murder 1, it can be between 15 and 25 years in prison to life in prison. In an aggravated murder setting, one can be given life imprisonment without parole. For manslaughter in the first degree, where you’re really intending to hurt somebody and cause him or her to die, the minimum sentence is 8 years and the maximum sentence is 25 years. For manslaughter in the second degree, a minimum is a C felony, which would be 3.5 to 15 years in prison. Criminally negligent homicide is up to 4 years in prison, with no minimum whatsoever. Many people who are charged and convicted of criminally negligent homicide don’t go to jail at all.

Do Most Of These Cases Go To Trial Or Do They Normally Plead Out?

More of these types of cases go to trial than another types of crimes, because it’s almost impossible to plea-bargain them to anything less than a substantial jail sentence. While most cases do wind up being pled, because there’s really no viable choice, a large number of these cases do go to trial. Frequently, you are taking the case to trial not expecting to win the case outright, but to get a lower degree than what the actual charge is.

Why Is It Critical To Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney To Handle Murder, Homicide Or Manslaughter Charges?

It is critical to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle murder, homicide, or manslaughter charges for several reasons. First, murder and manslaughter cases generally involve a lot of technical issues that are not present in other types of cases—you’re dealing with lab reports, police investigation reports, and they tend to be much more detailed and technical than another types of cases. You really need somebody who’s experienced in handling these types of cases to be able to intelligently defend a case. Murder and manslaughter cases are far more likely to be treated very seriously by the District Attorney, because somebody has been killed or injured.

The District Attorney is going to be putting a great deal of their resources into these cases. Generally, the DA’s office puts their top trial assistants into the Homicide Bureau to try these cases, because they are the most important cases for the District Attorney. You certainly need somebody who is equally well equipped to try these cases.

For more information on Defenses In Murder, Homicide & Manslaughter Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (718) 793-5700 today.

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