When one person is charged with the death of another, the charges are determined by state laws, unless the murder is a separate federal crime. Terms like homicide, murder, and manslaughter may sound the same, but there are significant differences. If you are facing such charges, you need to know these details and must exercise your rights. Before anything else, consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Rochester who can be your support and guide all through the process. Below is a quick overview of homicide, murder, and manslaughter in NY.


Homicide, in general, basically refers to the killing of one person by another. It doesn’t always mean that a crime has been committed. For instance, if you were being threatened at gunpoint and killed the assailant, it is a homicide but not a crime. Both murder and manslaughter are homicide charges. Homicide charges can be classified into categories depending on the defendant’s intentions and the type of crime.


In simple words, murder is when someone takes another person’s life intentionally and without any justification. One could face charges depending on the severity, such as first-degree, second-degree, and aggravated murder. These are all Class A-1 felonies, which include up to 40 years of prison without any possibility of parole.


Manslaughter is also a type of homicide where a person causes the death of another through reckless or negligent action. Manslaughter also includes crimes of passion, which may mean that the defendant didn’t have the intention to kill but wasn’t in the right mental state. If a driver causes the death of a person on the road because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will usually face vehicular homicide charges.

Things to understand

Each case of homicide is unique, and the degree of severity may vary beside the circumstances. Courts have the discretion in sentencing, but the judge may need to legally enforce mandatory minimum sentencing in many cases. If the jury finds that the defendant has committed the crime, the judge is required to adhere to the minimum sentencing requirements.

Get an attorney

Facing homicide charges can be scary, but just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean you have to deal with a conviction. Work on your defense and get an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you. You may have a better outcome for the given situation with the right strategy. Let your attorney decide the best course of action.