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Troy Homicide Lawyers

Manslaughter vs Murder

What is the difference between murder and manslaughter? In the State of New York, the statutes that penalize taking a human life are under murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide statutes. The main difference between manslaughter and murder is "malice aforethought." Murder includes elements of premeditation and malicious intent, whereas manslaughter, while still classified as voluntary or involuntary, does not.

“Homicide” is the broad term that covers both murder and manslaughter cases. It is defined as conduct which causes the death of a person under circumstances constituting:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter in the first degree
  • Manslaughter in the second degree
  • Criminally negligent homicide

If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges, you need representation right away. Our Troy homicide defense attorneys have decades of experience defending New Yorkers against these serious criminal charges.


Contact a Troy manslaughter lawyer from Frost & Kavanaugh today at (518) 730-4222 to schedule your consultation.


New York Murder Laws

Murder is an extremely serious criminal offense that is punished severely. A conviction could land you in jail, possibly for life. You could also be facing hefty fines and other harsh penalties.

In New York, murder is classified as:

  • First-degree murder: The most serious offense. Several factors contribute to this charge including the defendant's age, the victim's identity (e.g. police officer, peace officer, firefighter, emergency service workers, etc.), as well as the nature of the homicide(s).
  • Second-degree murder: While considered less severe than first-degree murder, this charge still has severe consequences. There are 5 ways in which a person commits second-degree murder.
  • Aggravated murder: Includes many of the same courses of conduct as first-degree murder, along with an additional course of conduct.

What is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

Manslaughter, while less serious than murder charges, can still have life-altering consequences. Manslaughter lacks malice aforethought, therefore, while still resulting in the death of another, it is less serious than murder. There are two forms of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary, however the New York Penal Code refers to them as first-degree manslaughter (voluntary) and second-degree manslaughter (involuntary).

Manslaughter can be charged as:

  • Manslaughter in the first degree: Causing the death of someone by acting with the intent to cause serious physical injury. This is different than murder in that while there was an intent to cause serious harm, or even death ("heat of the moment"), there was no premeditated intent to kill.
  • Manslaughter in the second degree: When someone causes the death of another based on reckless conduct or when they intentionally aid another in committing suicide.
  • Aggravated manslaughter in the first degree: Limited to first-degree manslaughter cases where:
    • the victim is a police officer or peace officer acting in their official duties
    • the defendant intentionally harmed the officer
    • the defendant knew or should have known the victim was acting in their official capacity.
  • Aggravated manslaughter in the second degree: Limited to second-degree manslaughter cases where:
    • the victim is a police officer or peace officer acting in their official duties
    • the defendant's reckless behavior harmed the officer
    • the defendant knew or should have known the victim was acting in their official capacity.

New York Vehicular Manslaughter

In New York, vehicular manslaughter occurs when someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes the death of another. This includes driving vehicles such as cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles, etc.

The exact charge you face – first-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter or aggravated vehicular homicide – depends on:

  • How intoxicated the person was
  • Whether their license was suspended or revoked
  • Whether they have been previously convicted of a DWI
  • Whether more than one person was killed or injured
  • If a child was killed
  • Whether a passenger was in the driver's vehicle

Facing Homicide Charges?

If you or a loved one is facing murder or manslaughter charges, having an experienced homicide attorney on your side is essential. At Frost & Kavanaugh we regularly handle serious felony charges and our Troy murder attorneys have extensive experience litigating pretrial issues, which can be can be the difference between winning or losing a case.

Consequently, we carefully review our cases to ensure police complied with the constitutional mandates guaranteed by the New York and United States Constitutions. Where evidence is illegally obtained, we fight to have it suppressed. Our firm is committed to fighting for your rights.


Contact our Troy homicide lawyers today at (518) 730-4222 to get started on your case.


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At Frost & Kavanaugh, our attorneys have decades of combined trial experience to put to work for you. Because we are deeply familiar with the judges, prosecutors, and processes you will face, we are equipped to build a strong and effective defense on your behalf. We are fierce litigators who will not shy away from a fight, and we remain committed to achieving a favorable resolution for every client we represent.