Criminally Negligent Homicide is a charge that is not often discussed but carries serious consequences. The charge is typically levied when a person causes the death of another through their own inaction or recklessness. This type of homicide is looked upon harshly in Suffolk County, Long Island, and can be punished by imprisonment, probation, and hefty fines. The charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide is a serious matter and one that should not be taken lightly.
Speaking to a skilled criminal defense lawyer can be helpful to your case if you are facing charges of Criminally Negligent Homicide. They have the legal knowledge and skills needed to get a favorable outcome. Before speaking to one, it would be helpful to prepare a set of questions to ask your lawyer.
Experienced Suffolk County criminal defense lawyer Jason Bassett has years of experience fighting to protect the rights of those who are facing charges of Criminally Negligent Homicide in New York. Contact us today at (631) 259-6060 to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.
What is Criminally Negligent Homicide?
According to New York Penal Law § 125.10, Criminally Negligent Homicide occurs when a person causes the death of another individual by failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that their actions or inactions would result in death. This charge is often applied when the perpetrator did not intend to kill the victim, but their recklessness or negligence led to the victim’s death.
It is considered a class E Felony and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. To be convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide, the prosecution must prove that the offender’s actions deviated widely from the reasonable person standard and that the offender’s conduct was the proximate cause of the victim’s death.
The definition of Criminally Negligent Homicide is essential to understanding the nature of this offense. While not as severe as Murder or Manslaughter, it can still have severe consequences for those found guilty. It is often difficult to navigate the line between culpability and innocent mistakes or bad luck. Nevertheless, it is essential that society holds individuals accountable for actions that lead to another’s death, even if the offender did not intend to cause harm.
Penalties for Criminally Negligent Homicide
Penalties for Criminally Negligent Homicide on Long Island may vary depending on the particular circumstances surrounding the crime. Since it is classified as a Class E felony, the penalties may include up to four years of imprisonment, followed by five years of probation. A fine may also be added, not exceeding $5,000. However, if the offender is a habitual felon, they could face a Class D felony, which is punishable by a maximum of seven years in jail and a fine not exceeding $5,000.
There are also instances where the offender may face a Class C felony, including causing a fatality while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, among others. The penalties may then increase to at least 15 years in jail, followed by five years of probation, and a fine not exceeding $15,000.
Since Criminally Negligent Homicide is a serious crime, it is recommended that those accused of such charges seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney who can provide legal advice concerning their rights and represent their best interests in a court of law.
Police Procedures in Investigating Criminally Negligent Homicide
The investigation of Criminally Negligent Homicide cases by the police includes a thorough examination of the crime scene and the gathering of evidence. The police must collect and preserve any physical evidence that can aid in identifying and proving negligence on the part of the offender. This may involve the use of forensic science techniques such as DNA analysis, fingerprint examination, and ballistics testing to link the suspect to the crime.
Additionally, the police may conduct interviews with witnesses, family members, and friends of the victim to gather information that can help identify potential suspects. The process of conducting an investigation is complex and requires a significant amount of time and resources. It involves collaboration between different law enforcement agencies and forensic experts to ensure the collection and preservation of evidence and the prosecution of those responsible for the crime.
Role of Forensic Evidence in Criminally Negligent Homicide Cases
Forensic evidence plays a crucial role in Criminally Negligent Homicide cases. This type of evidence is often used to establish the cause of death and the manner in which the crime was committed. Forensic experts rely on scientific methods to examine and analyze physical evidence found at the scene of the crime, such as DNA, fingerprints, and blood splatter patterns, to name a few. These methods help to identify and link suspects to the crime scene.
In addition to physical evidence, forensic experts also analyze digital evidence, such as surveillance footage, phone records, and social media activity. This type of evidence can provide valuable information about the suspect’s movements and interactions leading up to and after the crime. Forensic evidence can also be used to rule out suspects who may have been wrongly accused.
Trial Process for Criminally Negligent Homicide Cases
During the trial process for Criminally Negligent Homicide cases, the prosecution bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was criminally negligent and that their actions caused the death of the victim.
The prosecution’s case will likely rely on eyewitness testimonies, expert opinions, physical evidence, and any relevant documents. They may also call upon law enforcement officials and medical examiners to provide insight into the cause of death and the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the incident.
The defense, on the other hand, will attempt to establish doubt in the prosecution’s case by challenging the credibility of the witnesses, poking holes in the evidence presented, and presenting alternative theories of what actually happened.
If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, the defendant may face fines and imprisonment. However, if they are found not guilty, they will be acquitted of the charges and will not be held liable for the victim’s death.
It is important to note that every case is unique, and the trial process for Criminally Negligent Homicide cases can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each incident.
Possible Defenses for Criminally Negligent Homicide Charges
In New York, Criminally Negligent Homicide charges are taken seriously. If you are facing this type of charge, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney to establish a robust legal defense strategy tailored to your case. While the specifics of each case can vary, common defenses for Criminally Negligent Homicide include:
- Lack of awareness: The defendant was unaware of the danger posed by their actions, demonstrating a lack of knowledge or experience to recognize the potential risks involved.
- Absence of causation: The defendant’s conduct did not directly cause the victim’s death. Other factors, such as the victim’s preexisting conditions or the actions of third parties, can be argued to be responsible for the fatal outcome.
- No proximate cause: The defendant claims that their actions were not the immediate cause of the victim’s death. They argue that intervening factors were significant enough to break the causal chain, thereby diminishing their criminal liability.
- Assumption of risk: The victim willingly accepted the danger presented by the defendant’s conduct, acknowledging and assuming the risk of injury or death.
- Victim’s negligence or recklessness: The defense asserts that the victim’s own negligent or reckless behavior contributed to their death, thereby relieving the defendant of criminal responsibility.
- Self-defense or defense of others: The defendant argues that they acted to protect themselves or others from imminent harm, believing they were in danger at the time of the incident.
While these defenses are available to defendants in Criminally Negligent Homicide cases, it is important to note that they may not always be successful. The success of a defense often hinges on the specific facts of the case and the strength of the evidence presented by each side.
Defendants may face additional legal and practical challenges in raising certain defenses, particularly those that require showing the victim’s negligence or recklessness or the defendant’s knowledge or experience.
|Possible Defenses for Criminally Negligent Homicide Charges||Description|
|Lack of awareness||The defendant demonstrates a lack of knowledge or experience to recognize the potential risks involved in their actions, showing they were unaware of the danger posed.|
|Absence of causation||The defendant’s conduct did not directly cause the victim’s death. Other factors, such as the victim’s preexisting conditions or the actions of third parties, can be argued to be responsible for the fatal outcome.|
|No proximate cause||The defendant claims their actions were not the immediate cause of the victim’s death. They argue that intervening factors were significant enough to break the causal chain, thereby diminishing their criminal liability.|
|Assumption of risk||The victim willingly accepted the danger presented by the defendant’s conduct, acknowledging and assuming the risk of injury or death.|
|Victim’s negligence or recklessness||The defense asserts that the victim’s own negligent or reckless behavior contributed to their death, thereby relieving the defendant of criminal responsibility.|
|Self-defense or defense of others||The defendant argues that they acted to protect themselves or others from imminent harm, believing they were in danger at the time of the incident.|
Speaking to an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer on Long Island
Criminally Negligent Homicide carries potential sentences ranging from 7 to 15 years in prison, along with various other repercussions. If you or a loved one is facing charges related to Criminally Negligent Homicide, it is crucial to take every possible measure to safeguard your reputation and your freedom.
Distinguished Long Island criminal defense attorney Jason Bassett, Esq. has a proven track record of successfully defending clients against Criminally Negligent Homicide charges. At the Law Offices of Jason Bassett, P.C., our team of legal professionals understands the essential elements required to provide you with the strongest possible defense for your case. With conveniently located local offices providing legal advice in criminal law, we stand ready to assist you or your loved ones.