Second-degree manslaughter is a felony in New York that has a penalty of two to twelve years' prison and up to a hundred thousand dollars in fines, which includes a prison sentence of one year to four years in prison or in confinement in a state penitentiary or the county prison for a term not exceeding one year and a fine of not more than one thousand dollars. The penalties do not include a prison sentence if the defendant is found guilty after trial and is found guilty of an aggravated or murder charge. Second-degree manslaughter is generally not a lesser included offense of first degree manslaughter.
Second-degree manslaughter in New York is the killing of another person without justifiable cause, such as the use of excessive force, negligence, recklessness, excessive intoxication or mental illness. This means that this charge can also be applied if there was gross negligence on the part of the prosecution. The defense may argue that the prosecutor did not prove the accused was the victim of recklessness or had a mental illness when he/she committed the crime, but this defense is often difficult to defend, especially if the evidence shows that the accused was acting under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime.
Murder is generally charged as a misdemeanor, which includes a maximum sentence of a year or less in prison, and fines not exceeding one thousand dollars. Murder is a felony, which involves a sentence of one year to fifteen years in prison, a fine of two to twenty-five thousand dollars, or both. In addition, this felony is considered the most serious of the other felonies and carries with it a maximum prison term of fifteen years and a maximum fine of fifteen thousand dollars. Felony charges are tried before a jury, and a conviction requires the unanimous consent of the jury, which means that the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Second-degree manslaughter is a serious crime, and it is extremely important that a defendant understand the possible consequences of his/her actions. A defendant who pleads guilty to second degree manslaughter will have his/her conviction on his/her record and will not be able to take advantage of any sort of leniency. The prosecutor has the right to question the defendant during the trial, including the defendant's criminal history. During a pre-trial hearing, the defendant may also be asked about his/her family background, employment, whether he/she has ever served jail time, and any previous arrests.
Although second degree manslaughter has a penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of a maximum of twenty-five thousand dollars, many people face a lower fine because of the nature of the crime. Most convictions of second degree manslaughter require that the defendant perform community service for a certain period of time. The defendant may also have to pay for medical expenses and rehabilitation, if the defendant has been convicted of a felony.
Manslaughter charges are very serious and should be taken seriously. It is important that a defendant understands the possible consequences of his/her actions, as well as the penalties associated with them. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have been the victim of manslaughter, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.