Murder Defense Attorney in Kingston, New York

According to statistics from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, there were 69,764 reported cases of violent crimes in New York in 2019, including 558 murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents. In New York State, murder – the unlawful or intentional killing of another person without any legal justification – is a serious offense that is often punished severely. A defendant convicted of murder could face harsh punishments, including life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, hefty fines, a permanent criminal record, and other life-altering ramifications.

If you are under investigation for committing a murder offense, retaining a highly skilled and aggressive New York State criminal defense attorney is imperative to your defense strategy. At Melanson Law Office, I'm committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance and strong representation to individuals facing murder allegations. As your legal counsel, I will review and investigate all of the facts of your case and determine your best defense strategy in pursuit of a favorable outcome. I will fight aggressively on your side to defend your legal rights and make sure you get fair treatment.

My firm – Melanson Law Office – proudly represents clients throughout the Hudson Valley, including Kingston, Catskill, Hudson, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, and Saugerties.

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Murder Charges in New York

Murder can be defined as the unlawful killing of another person, or taking someone else's life without any valid reason or legal justification. Under New York law, murder is categorized into murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and aggravated murder.

Murder in the First Degree

Under New York Penal Law Section 125.27, a person is guilty of murder in the first degree when he or she:

  • Intentionally causes the death of a police officer engaged in performing his or her official duties.
  • Intentionally causes the death of a peace officer, including a firefighter, ambulance driver, emergency medical technician, paramedic, physician, or registered nurse responding to an emergency.
  • Intentionally causes the death of a peace officer in the course of performing their official duties.
  • Intentionally causes the death of an employee of a state correctional facility performing their official duties.
  • Intentionally causes the death of a witness to a prior crime in order to prevent the witness from testifying or because the witness already testified.
  • Intentionally caused the death of another person for profit.
  • Causes the death of another person while committing a serious felony such as robbery, kidnapping in the first degree, burglary, arson in the first degree, or rape in the first degree.
  • Causes the death of another person and had previously been convicted of murder in the second degree.
  • Causes the death of another person while acting in a cruel and wanton manner with disregard for human life.

Murder in the Second Degree

According to New York Penal Law Section 125.25, a person is guilty of murder in the second degree if he or she:

  • Intentionally causes the death of another person.
  • Recklessly causes the death of another person under the conditions that showed that they had wanton disregard for human life.
  • Causes the death of another person during the commission of another crime such as burglary, robbery, arson, or sexual assault.
  • Causes the death of another person below 11 years while committing a sex-related crime.

Aggravated Murder

Under New York Penal Law Section 125.26, a person is guilty of aggravated murder if he or she:

  • Intentionally causes the death of a police officer or a peace officer performing his or her official duties.
  • Intentionally causes the death of a firefighter, ambulance driver, emergency medical technician, paramedic, physician, or registered nurse responding to an emergency.
  • Intentionally causes the death of an employee of a state correctional facility performing his or her official duties.
  • Caused the death of someone who was less than 14 years old or younger in a cruel or wanton manner, such as by first inflicting torture upon the victim.

Possible Penalties

In New York State, the punishment for murder charges often depends on the underlying circumstances surrounding the victim's killing. The possible penalties for murder include:

Murder in the First Degree: This is a class A-I felony. Punishable by life in prison without parole or imprisonment for a term of 20 to 25 years to life.

Murder in the Second Degree: This is a class A-I felony. Punishable by life in prison without parole or imprisonment for a term of 15 to 25 years to life.

Aggravated Murder: This is a class A-I felony. Punishable by life in prison.

Possible Defenses

Here are some possible defenses that your attorney may use to fight your murder charges:

  • Accident or misfortune
  • Heat of passion
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of habitation, property, or person
  • Extreme emotional disturbance
  • Defense of a person in imminent danger
  • Mental disease or defect
  • Committed in an attempt to uphold the law

Murder Defense Attorney Serving Kingston, New York

Retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately is paramount to help protect your rights and build your defense. Contact Melanson Law Office today to schedule a simple case evaluation. I can offer you the detailed legal counsel, brilliant advocacy, and reliable representation you need. My firm proudly represents clients throughout the Hudson Valley, including Kingston, Catskill, Hudson, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, and Saugerties.