A man is facing charges of criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of his girlfriend on Nov. 8. Authorities discovered a 68-year-old woman with multiple stab wounds at a Queens apartment when they responded to an emergency phone call. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel. Following an initial investigation, the woman's boyfriend was taken into police custody.
Charges for violent crimes are extremely serious and come with severe penalties upon conviction. Potential penalties for a murder conviction can include a long prison sentence, probation and other consequences.
There are two main approaches that a criminal defense attorney might consider on behalf of someone who is facing second-degree murder charges. The first may be to fight the charges in court. For instance, the attorney may evaluate whether mitigating factors could be used as a defense strategy. Some possible mitigating factors are self-defense, mental illness or extreme emotional duress.
However, it is risky to try a case in court. Juries and judges can be unpredictable and have the potential to not only find the defendant guilty, but to impose the maximum penalties. If the attorney and defendant are concerned about the outcome of the trial, a plea bargain may be an appropriate alternative. In most cases, a plea bargain is a way to avoid the uncertainty of a trial. Many plea bargains exchange reduced charges or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. While a guilty plea means that the defendant will have a criminal record, the benefits may be worthwhile. A defense attorney may negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor.
Source: CBS New York, "Boyfriend Charged In Connection With Queens Woman's Stabbing Death", November 09, 2014