The overall crime rate in Brooklyn is on a downward trajectory, but the same cannot be said with the murder rate in the city. For the first two months of 2019, the murder rate spiked at an alarming rate. For example, in Brooklyn North, there has been a 275 percent increase in the number of murders since January 2019, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. In Brooklyn South, the murder rate increased by 125 percent.
The rate for other crimes such as burglary, felony assault, rape, and car theft decreased by 10.6 percent since the beginning of 2019.
Legal Definition of Murder
Under New York Law, murder is categorized as a form of homicide. The legal elements to charge someone with murder is evidence indicating that a defendant intentionally took the life of another without legal justification. Murder charges are classified as a felony. The potential penalties include serving a life sentence in federal prison.
There are different “degrees” of murder charges in New York. For example, second degree murder is the most common charge since it pertains to the intentional killing of another person or persons. First Degree Murder is typically only charged when a judge, police officer, firefighter, or other first responder is intentionally killed. Additionally, if someone dies during the commission of another crime, such as a robbery, then the charges can be escalated to felony murder.
Action Plan to Combat Increase in Homicides
Given the disturbing increase in reported murders in Brooklyn, the New York Police Department announced a five-point action plan to combat “pockets of violence.” The plan includes strategic deployments of police officers, stronger gun prosecutions, including more stringent domestic violence gun investigations. In addition, the Warrants Section plans to focus on apprehending top offenders and violent criminals with open warrants.
Defending Against a Murder Charge
A potential defense to being charged with murder is if you were forced to use deadly force to defend yourself or another. You can assert this defense when there is evidence that you reasonably believed that another person was using or was about to use deadly force or when you were unable to retreat safely in the face of deadly force by another. It is also important to keep in mind that a prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to take the life of another person in order to secure a conviction for murder.
Have Legal Questions Related to Murder Charges? Speak to a Brooklyn Criminal Defense Attorney Today
An experienced Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer at the Bukh Law Firm stands ready to help you protect your rights if you are charged with murder. Contact our firm today to speak with a member of our legal team.