New York Criminal Defense Attorneys Tilem & Associates in a high profile case in Westchester County successfully negotiated a plea deal for a client charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of a 6 year old and helped the client avoid a jail sentence.

Homicide. Murder. Negligent homicide. Manslaughter. In the wake of the loss of a life, one may wonder, exactly what the difference in the terms mean? While the words can be confusing, there is an important difference between each charge. Homicide means conduct which causes the death of a person. The difference between murder, negligent homicide and manslaughter all depend on the culpable mental state alleged to be involved with the death of another. In another words did the person intentionally cause the death of someone or did they do so recklessly or with criminal negligence.

The statute, N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.10, spells out criminally negligent homicide in New York. Criminally negligent homicide represents the least serious of all homicide offenses in New York and in fact is the lowest level felony in the New York Penal law. The charge of criminal negligence means that person has failed to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a particular result will occur or that a particular circumstance exists. The risk is usually of such a nature and degree that failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. This charge is used when the accused lacked the intention of killing the victim, but should have known better than to complete acts which resulted in the victim’s death.

In New York, Criminally negligent homicide is a Class E felony. If convicted of criminally negligent homicide, a Defendant could face up to 4 years in prison. Usually, the sentence in any particular case will be based upon the personal characteristics of the defendant and the circumstances of the crime. For instance, if the defendant’s criminal behavior is the result of circumstances that are unlikely to reoccur or if the character, habits, mentality, propensities and activities of the defendant indicate that he or she is unlikely to commit another crime, or if the defendant educational background, home life, sobriety, or the general emotional or physical state of a Defendant would suggest that leniency makes sense, effective presentation of these facts becomes essential. Depending on any number of mitigating factors that might exist, it is possible that a Defendant may be sentenced to probation and receive no prison term.

Tilem & Associates was successful in preparing a complete and compelling, mitigation package which told our client’s story in a manner that illustrated that justice would be best served with a promised sentence of probation. This case illustrates the absolute importance of retaining a criminal defense attorney who can effectively present mitigating evidence and arguments before the Court. Tilem & Associates firmly believes that our success in this case is directly linked to our theory that there is never a “one size fits all” approach to a good criminal defense.

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