How Are Murder and Manslaughter Different in NY?

If you have been accused of ending another person’s life, please read on, then contact an experienced Nassau County violent crimes lawyer to learn how murder and manslaughter are different in NY.

How does NY define murder and manslaughter?

Regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is generally considered a homicide whenever someone kills another person. When someone knowingly and purposefully kills another person or causes substantial bodily harm that the other person later succumbs to the injuries that were inflicted, that constitutes murder under Empire State statute. If another person dies while the defendant is allegedly committing arson, burglary, carjacking, criminal escape, kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, an act of terrorism or other serious offense, a defendant may be charged with “felony murder.”

Conversely, manslaughter typically arises out of reckless conduct, not out of a person’s intent to cause death. It is for this reason that manslaughter is usually considered a lesser offense when compared to murder, a Class A felony, but that is not always the case. A person may be charged with both murder and manslaughter and the jury may decide that the killing of the other person was a purposeful homicide that occurred while the defendant was in the “heat of passion” stemming from “reasonable provocation.” To qualify, the alleged provocation must have been so egregious that it would cause any “ordinary reasonable person” to commit the type of violence that results in a fatality.

How are murder and manslaughter punished in NY?

While both of these crimes are serious offenses, the penalties can vary wildly based on the classification of the homicide and the specific circumstances of one’s alleged offense. That being said, some of the most common penalties are as follows:


  • A conviction for a Class C felony
  • A prison sentence of 3.5 to 15 years

Aggravated manslaughter:

  • A conviction for a Class B felony
  • A prison sentence of up to 25 years


  • A conviction for a Class A felony
  • A maximum prison sentence of life

New York State may no longer sentence convicts to or carry out the death penalty, but you should reach out to a skilled Nassau County criminal defense attorney today. Our legal team will gather all of the available evidence in your case and discuss the feasibility of each of your options. This process will not be easy, but we will fight for your future. So, please give us a call today.


Whether you need a Nassau County Criminal Defense Lawyer or traffic ticket attorney, The Law Office of Jacob A. Rudman is here to help. Our firm has significant experience representing clients facing a wide range of criminal charges, including DUIs, drug crimes, domestic violence, assault, juvenile crimes, and more. If you have been issued a traffic ticket, it is important to contact us today. We zealously represent clients facing tickets for speeding, reckless driving, driving without a license, and those caught using a mobile device. Contact us today to schedule your first consultation with our trusted legal team.

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