Although homicide is normally a crime that involves the intentional killing of another person, it can also be charged on a person who caused the death of another through negligent actions. This is called criminally negligent homicide, and it involves someone causing the death of another person due to actions that are negligent, reckless, careless or inattentive. A person can also be charged with the crime if they cause someone else’s death and act recklessly afterward.
Criminally Negligent Homicide as Per the New York Penal Law 125.10
Under the New York Penal Law 125.10, a person can be charged and prosecuted for criminally negligent homicide if their negligent acts directly result in the death of another person. Acting with criminal negligence means that the individual failed to act in a responsible manner and failed to realize that there was a risk of their actions resulting in another person’s death. This risk must be a considerable deviation from the normal standard of care that is considered reasonable depending on the circumstances.
For example, if a person is texting while driving and not paying attention to the road, runs a red light as a result and hits a pedestrian and kills them, that can be considered criminally negligent homicide. The driver was not behaving in a reasonable manner and was instead acting negligently while behind the wheel because they were text messaging instead of paying attention to their driving.
Possible Defenses for Criminally Negligent Homicide in New York
A person who is charged with criminally negligent homicide requires an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent them during their trial. The defense attorney would be able to use certain defenses to have the charges reduced or dropped. One type of defense is to show that the defendant’s actions were not a gross deviation from the way a reasonable person would behave under the same circumstances. There is also a defense that would state that although the individual behaved negligently, their actions didn’t directly lead to the person’s death. This defense states that the death was caused by something or someone else and not the defendant.
Sentence for Criminally Negligent Homicide in New York
The crime of criminally negligent homicide is considered a class E felony in the state of New York. As a result, if a person is convicted of this crime, they can expect to receive a sentence of up to four years in state prison and be required to pay a hefty fine as well. However, the person’s sentence depends on several different factors, such as their prior criminal history and if they show remorse for the death. A person who does not show any remorse, for instance, can receive a harsher sentence even if they do not have a prior criminal history. If a judge sees in court that a defendant shows no remorse for another person’s death due to their negligent actions, they can add on more years to their prison sentence.
Summary of Criminally Negligent Homicide, New York Penal Law 125.10
A person can be considered guilty of criminal negligent homicide in the state of New York when their negligent actions directly lead to the death of someone else. The person does not have to intend on killing another person, but if their actions were unreasonable in the negligence, carelessness or recklessness they exhibited at the time of the incident, they can still be charged with the crime. The actions that led to the death would have to be a severe deviation from those of any normal, reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances