Maryland Homicide lawyer
Homicide and manslaughter are some of the most serious criminal offenses and have the most severe personal and legal consequences. In Maryland, the killing of another human being is broken up into three categories: first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter. Each offense is a felony under state law.
First Degree Murder:
This type of murder is a willful, premeditated and deliberate killing of a human being. It can be committed a number of ways; lying in wait, poisoning, arson, during burglary, armed or unarmed carjacking, escape from a correctional facility, kidnapping, mayhem, rape, robbery, first or second degree sexual assault, or sodomy. Those convicted may face up to life in prison, with or without the possibility of parole.
However, prosecutors are no longer permitted to seek the death penalty. Attempted first degree murder receives the same treatment, though the victim was not killed.
Second Degree Murder:
Second degree murder is defined as any murder that does not qualify as first degree. In other words, any murder that is not considered willful, premeditated or deliberate. Defendants can face up to 30 years in prison. Those convicted of attempted second degree murder face the same penalties.
If the murder is committed during the commission of a separate felony that is considered inherently dangerous and the victim dies as a result, a person may be charged with second degree murder whether or not they had the intent to kill the victim.
Manslaughter is the killing of a human being without malice aforethought, unlike first and second degree murder. For instance, an accidental shooting might be charged as manslaughter. Those convicted may face up to ten years in prison.
The penalties for manslaughter by motor vehicle or vessel are similar, with fines up to $5,000 and up to ten years imprisonment, or both.
Given the gravity of the offenses and the impact they can have on your life, if you are faced with such charges, you should contact an experienced Maryland homicide lawyer to help protect you both personally and legally, and to help beat the charges.
For a greater explanation of Maryland homicide laws you can read the Maryland Official Code.