How Syracuse Courts Define Murder

New York Penal Law §125.00 provides the core definition of homicide. This statute states that a homicide is any incident that leads to the death of another person or an unborn child older than 24 weeks. However, despite this definition, the courts cannot charge you with the generic crime of “homicide”. Instead, New York Penal Law recognizes three levels of homicide that a prosecutor may use to pursue a conviction.

The most serious allegations of homicide are known as murder, defined officially by NYPL §125.25. At the core, a murder is any death that is caused by the deliberate actions of another. Even within the umbrella of murder, there are three classes of this offense, each with their own elements. However, a murder conviction is always a class A-1 felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison term of fifteen to twenty-five years, and a maximum of life.


Many deaths in the criminal justice system are not charged as murder. Instead, when a death is the result of reckless behavior, the court may charge this incident as manslaughter. Recklessness, according to NYPL §15.05, is when a person is aware of and chooses to ignore the risk created by their behavior.

Under NYPL §§125.15 and 125.20, manslaughter is separated into two classes, and courts in Syracuse consider a person causing a death after intentionally inflicting serious physical injury to another to be the more serious of the two. As such, Manslaughter in the Second Degree may be charged when an assault results in a death. Alternatively, Manslaughter in the First Degree applies when a death results from a defendant under extreme emotional distress. A conviction here is a class B felony.

Death Resulting from Criminal Negligence

However, even when a person does not intend to harm another person, they may face homicide charges. This is because NYPL §125.10 creates the class E felony crime of negligent homicide.

According to NYPL §15.05, criminal negligence applies when a person does not realize that their actions are placing another at risk of harm. Furthermore, they do not act as a reasonable person would to prevent harm.

What Our Clients Are Saying:

Featured Attorney


When you choose Tully Rinckey PLLC, you aren’t just assigned an attorney. Your legal matter will be cared for by our entire legal team and support staff. With offices throughout the United States, we make sure you receive legal counsel and representation you can trust.

Full Service Legal Firm

Tully Rinckey is a full-service law firm. We handle legal issues relating to appellate law, litigation, bankruptcy, international and U.S.-based business law, family and matrimonial law, military and federal employment law, intellectual property law, and much more. We also offer a variety of services, including estate planning, security clearance representation, and congressional investigations. Regardless of your legal needs, we have the experienced counsel you need.

Our Experience

Our highly knowledgeable law team comes to the table with attorneys who have 20 to 30 years of experience representing hundreds of clients. With hundreds of years of combined experience in appellate, international and U.S. business and corporate commercial law, litigation, criminal law, immigration, bankruptcy, employment law, estate planning, our team has what it takes to ensure your success.

Our Process

Our client-centered process is all about communication. During consultations, we teach clients about legal challenges they face and explain options available from their current position. Our attorneys explain how we resolve legal issues for the best possible outcome. We define what the expectations are, create manageable deadlines, and discover evidence to support claims.

Our Personal Process

Contact us

Contact us to discuss your needs with a client representative and schedule a consultation with an attorney.


Your time with your attorney is important. Please use this guide to get the most out of your initial consultation.

Meet your attorney

We discuss your specific legal goals and gain important information from you to help us understand your unique situation.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Get Started

Talk to a Syracuse Homicide Attorney Today

Despite the severe nature of such charges, not every homicide is a murder. However, even charges of manslaughter or negligent criminal homicide are felonies for which a conviction could result in significant prison time. In light of this, it is often essential to face these charges with a solid defensive plan and battle-hardened legal representation.

To schedule a free consultation with a member from our experienced team, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 8885294543 or

Book Your Consultation Now!

Ready to book your consultation? Click here to pay our consultation fee and book your meeting with an attorney today!

Book Your Consultation