Long Island Murder Attorney

By definition, murder is “the unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse.” Though this is the generally accepted legal definition, each state creates its own definitions for crimes to correspond with its constitution and laws. Since murder is the most serious of charges in any state, finding a defense lawyer with intimate knowledge of a state’s laws is just as serious. Long Island law firm Divins & Divins, PC, knows the ins and outs of criminal law in New York and has the expertise to launch a successful defense for anyone charged with murder.

Murder Classifications

Although murder scenarios vary from case to case, the outcome is always the same for the victim—death. Within the general category of murder, there are numerous classifications. The most serious of these is first-degree murder, or murder with malice aforethought. Also known as premeditated murder, first-degree murder embodies mens rea as well as actus rea; the crime had evil intent as well as the evil act. Second-degree murder also implies intent but without planning; usually, this is an act of anger or spontaneous circumstance, such as a bar-room brawl or a domestic fight. Manslaughter is murder without intent to kill and can be both voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter often occurs during the commission of another crime, such as robbery or breaking and entering; involuntary manslaughter is often accidental or the result of negligence. States also recognize special circumstances that can be categorized under any of these broader classes.

Murder Sentences

Murder carries no statute of limitations, so a conviction and sentence can come at any time. As with definitions and classifications, sentencing varies greatly from state to state. Most states still carry a death penalty, but its use is declining. New York itself has a complicated history with the death penalty and currently has a moratorium on capital punishment. However, every state mandates a life sentence for first-degree murder. Within the spectrum of sentencing, term reductions of up to 20% are possible for good behavior.

New York City has seen a recent rise in the murder rate with 2010 statistics showing a murder rate of 6.56 murders per 100,000 people; this rise seems to be connected to gang-related and drug-related activities in the city. With so many special circumstances in play, a murder charge requires expert defense. Divins & Divins has the expertise to obtain a fair hearing and a fair sentence based on the law.