Although the crime of homicide frequently involves intentionally causing the death of another individual, it can also involve bringing about the death of another person through negligence. The offense of criminally negligent homicide involves bringing about someone’s death by acting in a manner that could be considered reckless, inattentive, or careless. In addition to that, if you recklessly fail to act to assist a person and, as a result of your failure to act, someone dies, you could also be found to have committed criminally negligent homicide. You could be prosecuted for criminally negligent homicide under New York Penal Law § 125.10 if, due to your criminal negligence, you kill another person. According to New York Penal Law § 15.05(4), acting with “criminal negligence” is another way of saying that you failed to perceive a substantial risk that your actions or inaction would lead to another person’s death. Pursuant to the statute, the risk must constitute a gross deviation from the customary standard of care that a reasonable person would observe under the circumstances.
Offenses that are Related
Aggravated criminally negligent homicide: New York Penal Law § 125.11
Manslaughter in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 125.20
If you get charged with the crime of criminally negligent homicide, a valid defense against this charge would be to demonstrate that your actions should not be considered as a gross deviation from the way a reasonable person would behave under similar circumstances. An alternative defense would be that even though you might indeed have acted negligently, it was not your actions that brought about the death of the victim. In other words, the death was a result of the actions of someone other than you or some other factor outside of your control.
Since criminally negligent homicide is a class E felony, if you are convicted, you could be sentenced to serve up to 4 years in state prison and be obligated to pay a substantial fine. The final determination on the length of your prison sentence will depend on factors such as your prior criminal record and whether or not you appear to be remorseful. For example, in the People v Olsen, the judge sentenced Ms. Olsen to the maximum of 1-4 years in prison even though she had no prior criminal record. The judge’s reason for the harsh sentence was that she failed to display remorse for her actions.
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