What Are The Differences Between Murder and Manslaughter in New York?

Have you been accused of ending another person’s life? If so, please read on, then contact an experienced Rockland County violent crimes attorney to learn the differences between murder and manslaughter in New York.

How are murder and manslaughter defined in New York?

When a person kills someone, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is generally considered a homicide. In the Empire State, murder is when a person knowingly and purposefully kills another person or causes substantial bodily harm that the other person later dies due to the injuries that were inflicted. A defendant may be charged with “felony murder” if another person dies while the defendant was allegedly committing arson, burglary, carjacking, criminal escape, kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault or an act of terrorism.

On the other hand, manslaughter typically does not arise out of a person’s intent to cause death, but rather reckless conduct. For this reason, manslaughter is a lesser offense as compared to murder, which is a Class A felony. However, if a person kills another person in the “heat of passion,” that is considered a purposeful homicide resulting from “reasonable provocation.” The alleged provocation must be so egregious that it would cause an “ordinary reasonable person” to commit the type of violence that results in a fatality.

How are the penalties for murder and manslaughter different in New York?

Both of these crimes are serious offenses. That being said, the penalties will vary wildly based on the degree and unique circumstances of your alleged offense. They 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

While the Empire State no longer sentences convicts to or carries out the death penalty, you would be well-advised to retain the services of a skilled Rockland County criminal defense attorney if you are charged with either crime. Our seasoned legal professional will gather the facts and evidence of your case and develop a tailored strategy to help you avoid decades, or even the rest of your life, behind bars, so do not hesitate to give us a call today.

Contact our experienced Rockland County firm

Those facing criminal charges in New York need a strong Rockland County criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. Fortunately, our firm is ready to put over 30 years of experience to work for you. Call today or contact The Law Office of Carl Spector online to schedule a free confidential consultation. We are ready to help you go on living life positively, happily, and free from the burdens of a criminal conviction–all you have to do is ask.