New York Murder/Manslaughter and Violent Crime Lawyers

Santana Law Firm is a leading New York City criminal law firm representing individuals charged with homicide, manslaughter, and other violent crimes. Our lawyers have more than two decades of experience assisting people facing serious felony and misdemeanor charges in New York State.

Violent crimes carry some of the most severe punishments in the legal system. Many of these crimes are charged as felonies with minimum sentences of several years up to life in prison. A wrongful accusation can have a devastating impact on your reputation, and those convicted may pay significant fines, lose their job, have a permanent criminal record, and face a considerable term of incarceration.

That said, you don’t lose your rights just because you’ve been accused of a crime. You are entitled to fair treatment, a presumption of innocence, and competent legal counsel. With the help of an experienced defense lawyer, there is always a way to defend yourself against criminal charges.

Santana Law Firm has taken on the toughest cases in New York, first as Brooklyn prosecutors and now as defense attorneys. With a deep understanding of how the DA’s office operates, we know how to best position you to beat criminal charges. You have the right to a fair trial—preserve that right by choosing a skilled lawyer.

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Types of Violent Crime in NYC

Often synonymous with “street crime,” violent crimes are considered a distinct category of crime at both the federal and state levels. Many are surprised to learn that several crimes considered “violent” under the law do not always cause physical harm. Simply the threat of possible violence can be enough to categorize a crime as violent.

The seriousness of a violent crime is typically determined by the amount of harm caused to the victim. As such, crimes involving a weapon (especially a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife) often trigger more serious charges.

Under New York’s Penal Code, violent crimes include:

These charges are serious and require an extremely skillful defense strategy. If you have been arrested, charged, or indicted for any of these crimes, the best way to avoid significant jail time is to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

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Possible Sentences for Murder and Violent Crime in NY

Most violent crimes are felonies that come with serious penalties as harsh as life in prison. Less serious violent crimes may be charged as misdemeanors, but even these can have a significant impact on your life. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may face up to one year in jail, probation, fines, and a permanent criminal record.

Many violent felonies come with what is known as “determinate” sentences. This means that if you are convicted of a particular crime, the judge must sentence you to a fixed minimum sentence and you must serve all of it. The sentence can be increased but it can never be reduced, even for good behavior.

Determinate sentences also take into account your prior criminal record. For example, if person 1 has no prior felonies and they are convicted of a class B violent felony, they must receive a minimum 5-year sentence. If person 2 is charged with the same crime but they have been convicted of a violent felony before, they must receive a minimum 10-year sentence. This holds true even if person 1 and person 2 are convicted of the exact same crime.

The typical sentences for violent felonies include:

  • Murder: 20 years to life imprisonment without parole
  • Predatory Sexual Assault: 10 years to life imprisonment
  • Class B Violent Felony: 5 to 25 years in prison
  • Class C Violent Felony: 3.5 to 15 years in prison
  • Class D Violent Felony: 2 to 7 years in prison

Note that these sentences may or may not apply to your specific case. To understand the potential sentence you are facing, the best thing you can do is talk to an experienced NYC criminal defense lawyer. A good lawyer will not only be able to explain your charges, but they will take steps to minimize any negative outcome.

Defenses Against Violent Felony Charges

Despite determinate sentences, do not think your case is hopeless. There is a defense to every charge, and a skilled lawyer will have strategies to reduce the impact of your arrest, minimize jail time, or eliminate your charges completely.

Defenses to violent crimes include:

You acted in order to protect yourself or someone else from bodily harm

Involuntary Intoxication:

You were not of sound mind at the time of the crime

Mistake of Fact:

You committed a crime unknowingly


You are not the right suspect

Constitutional Violations:

Your rights were violated by police or prosecution


You could not have committed the crime because you were somewhere else


You were suffering a mental defect at the time of the crime


You were forced to commit a crime you did not want to


You committed a crime to prevent a more significant harm


You intended to commit a crime but changed your mind before completing it

These defenses may always not get charges dropped entirely, but they frequently reduce the possible sentence and make it very difficult for the prosecution to present their case against. Remember: in a criminal case, if there is reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted.

Santana Law Firm

will help you resolve violent crime charges, preserve your freedom and, if necessary, defend you aggressively at trial.

What To Do If You Have Been Charged With a Violent Crime in NYC

  • 1Contact a lawyer. If you only do one thing after being arrested, make it this. A skilled lawyer will help guide you through the legal process and begin working immediately to secure your freedom.
  • 2Remain silent. Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right not to incriminate yourself. The best way to protect this right is to simply not speak to the police. If you are being questioned by law enforcement, state that you will not answer their questions until your lawyer is present.
  • 3Remain calm. Police may intentionally try to intimidate or scare you; don’t give in. Remain as calm and polite as possible. This will reflect better on you.
  • 4Don’t post bail right away. Of course, you don’t want to spend any more time in jail than you have to. But before paying a bail bondsman fee or posting bail unnecessarily, talk to your lawyer to determine the best course of action.
  • 5Understand your charges. Your lawyer should carefully explain the crime you have been charged with, what the sentence may be, and what impact it may have on your life. Do not make any decisions without completely understanding these facts.
  • 6Be honest with your lawyer. Your lawyer cannot defend you effectively if they don’t know all the facts. You can feel secure being 100% honest with your lawyer—your relationship is protected by attorney-client privilege and your lawyer cannot share the details of your case with anyone.

Leading NYC Murder and Violent Crime Lawyers

Being charged with a violent crime is one of the most terrifying situations you will likely ever face. With your entire life on the line, now is not the time to hesitate. Working with an experienced lawyer will give you your best chance of beating the charges, and the sooner your lawyer can get started, the better.

Led by former Brooklyn prosecutor Jaime Santana, our team of experienced NYC criminal defense attorneys has worked on virtually every type of criminal case. With a passion for justice, our lawyers take an aggressive approach to preserve the innocence of individuals accused of crimes. Contact our office today for a confidential case evaluation, and we will begin working immediately to protect you.