What are defenses to murder in the first degree?

Sep 01 2023

The New York Police Department reported an encouraging trend in violent crimes in the first six months of 2023. It stated murder rates were down by 7.9% over 2022. Despite this, murder remains a high-occurring issue in the city.

Any person facing a first-degree murder charge should understand the law completely because it contains reasonable defenses to this crime.

Extreme emotional disturbance

This choice lets a person argue that the killing happened because of overwhelming emotions. It says that if they can prove that most people would have reacted the same way in their situation, it could be a valid defense. For instance, this defense often works when there’s a history of mistreatment and the victim feels extreme fear or anger towards the abuser and reacts impulsively.

Suicide assistance

In New York, the law also permits someone to claim that they were helping another person to end their own life. To use this defense, there needs to be evidence that the victim asked for assistance, and the person helping must have had clear agreement and understanding with the victim about what was going on. There should be no signs that the helper manipulated or tricked the victim into dying.

A key point to remember

Even though these defenses can assist someone in avoiding a charge of first-degree murder, they don’t guarantee complete immunity from prosecution. The state might still bring up charges of second-degree murder or accuse the person of a less serious crime.

Finding a suitable defense against first-degree murder can spare a person from the harsh sentences possible with a conviction. However, it is not a guarantee that the person will walk away free from any other criminal charges.

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