Criminally Negligent Homicide (NYPL 125.10)

Homicide a general term that means to cause the death of another person.  In cases where a homicide is a crime, there are several different legal terms to describe the homicide depending on such factors as the perpetrator’s intent.  Such terms include criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, and murder.  In New York criminally negligent homicide is the least serious type of homicide while murder is the most serious.

You will face a charge of criminally negligent homicide if even though you had no intention of killing someone, you do something that you knew or should have known was so risky that it presented a substantial risk of killing or seriously injuring another person.  There are two criminally negligent homicide offenses in New York’s criminal code:  criminally negligent homicide and aggravated criminally negligent homicide. If you have been charged with a homicide charge, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away.

Criminally negligent homicide vs. aggravated criminally negligent homicide

Criminally negligent homicide is the least serious of all homicide offenses in New York.  It is a Class E felony.  The prosecutor will charge you with this crime if with criminal negligence you cause another person’s death.  N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.10.  In other words, while you had no intention of killing the victim, you should have known better than completing the acts which resulted in the victim’s death.  For example, if you go deer hunting with a friend, take a poor shot at a deer and instead kill your friend, you may face a charge of criminally negligent homicide.

If the victim of your negligent act is a police officer in the line of duty, then the charge you will face will be aggravated criminally negligent homicide, a Class D felony.  However, in order to be charged with aggravated criminally negligent homicide you must have known or had reason to know that the victim was a police officer.  N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.11

Punishment for a criminally negligent homicide conviction
If you are convicted of criminally negligent homicide, you could face up to 4 years in prison.  However, depending on any mitigating factors that might exist in your case such as a lack of a felony criminal history, it is possible that you may be sentenced to probation and receive no prison term.   However, if you are convicted of aggravated criminally negligent homicide, because it is classified as a violent Class C felony, you will have to go prison for at least 3.5 years and up to 15 years.   N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.02

Being charged with criminally negligent homicide or any homicide, manslaughter or murder is extremely serious.  If you are convicted there is a good chance that you will end up in prison for multiple years.  However, there may be defenses to a charge of criminally negligent homicide that may result in you being acquitted, the charges being dropped, or the charges being reduced.