Maryland Homicide Lawyer
Homicide and manslaughter are among the most serious criminal charges that can be brought forth in the state of Maryland. Murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree and manslaughter can all result in felony convictions, for which the penalties range from fines and years of jail time to life in prison without the possibility of parole, or even the death penalty in certain cases of first degree murder. If you’ve been charged with one of these crimes, you owe it to yourself to seek the legal council of a qualified, reputable Maryland homicide and manslaughter defense attorney, who will examine the specifics of your case in order to create the strongest possible legal defense. Please contact our attorneys in Virginia for more information about Homicide laws in that state.
Homicide Law Info
- Maryland Murder and Manslaughter Law
- First Degree Murder
- How an Attorney can Help
Maryland Murder and Manslaughter Law
Homicide, manslaughter and related crimes are covered by Title 2, Subtitles 1 through 5 of the Maryland criminal law code. If you’re convicted of murder or a similar crime in Maryland, you could face up to life in prison or even death, as well as a felony reflected on your permanent record. An existing felony conviction, especially one resulting from a violent crime, can make it extremely difficult to obtain housing or employment in the future. With the assistance of an experienced Maryland homicide and manslaughter lawyer, you can fight the charges to the furthest extent legally possible. This may result in the lowering of your charges, or even the dismissal of your case entirely, and give you the best possible chance of having a favorable day in court.
First Degree Murder
First degree murder, covered by Maryland criminal code √ü 2-201, is defined as a willful, premeditated and deliberate killing. It can be committed by lying in wait, poisoning, arson, burglary in any degree, carjacking either armed or unarmed, escape from a correctional facility, kidnapping, mayhem, rape, robbery, first or second degree sexual assault, sodomy or destructive devices.
The penalty associated with first degree murder is outlined by criminal code √ü 2-201(b), and includes a felony as well as either death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole. The nature of the punishment depends on the specific circumstances of the crime.
First Degree Murder – Death Sentence
In Maryland, the death penalty for first degree murder is covered by state code √ü 2-202. An individual found guilty of first degree murder may only be sentenced to death if the State makes it clear in writing 30 days before the trial that they intend to seek the death penalty. The defendant must also be considered a principal in the first degree, or they must have killed a law enforcement officer. In addition, the State must present the court with DNA or biological evidence proving the guilt of the defendant, as well as a video taped confession or video conclusively linking the defendant with the murder.
Even under these circumstances, the defendant will be exempt from the death penalty if he or she is mentally retarded, was under 18 years of age at the time of the crime, or was convicted based solely on evidence provided via eyewitness testimony.
First Degree Murder – Life in Prison with No Possibility of Parole
The penalty of life imprisonment with no chance of parole is covered by Maryland criminal code √ü 2-203. This code states that life in prison without the possibility of parole for first degree murder can only imposed as a sentence if the State makes it clear in writing at least 30 days before the trial that they intend to seek this sentence. The written documentation must be provided to the defendant. The State must also remain in compliance with state code √ü 2-304, which states that the jury must make this determination unanimously. If even one juror votes against life without the possibility of parole, the sentence will be imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole. This is one reason why it’s so important to have a reputable Maryland homicide lawyer by your side, even if you’re ultimately found guilty of the crime in question.
Attempted First Degree Murder
Attempted murder in the first degree is covered by criminal code √ü 2-205. According to this code, any individual who attempts to commit first degree murder can be found guilty of a felony. The associated penalty is imprisonment of up to life.
Second Degree Murder
Second degree murder in Maryland is covered by state criminal code √ü 2-204. This code defines any murder that does not qualify as first degree murder as second degree murder instead. For example, a homicide would likely be classified as second degree murder if it was not premeditated, if it was not willful, or if it was not deliberate.
The penalty associated with second degree murder, as per state code √ü 2-204(b), is a felony as well as a prison term of up to 30 years.
Attempted Second Degree Murder
Attempted murder in the second degree is covered by criminal code √ü 2-206. This code states that a person found guilty of attempted second degree murder will receive a felony conviction, as well as a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
The distinction between attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault, for example, can often represent a legal gray area. This is another reason why it’s so crucial to have a reputable Maryland homicide lawyer at your side during every step of your legal battle.
Manslaughter is covered by Maryland state code √ü 2-207, and is defined as killing another individual without malice aforethought, whereas first and second degree murder are defined as killing another individual with some malice aforethought. For example, accidentally shooting a gun and striking and killing another individual could be charged as manslaughter in Maryland.
The penalty associated with manslaughter, defined under code √ü 2-207(a), is a felony as well as a prison sentence of up to 10 years, or imprisonment in a local jail not to exceed 2 years, a fine of up to $500 or both. The severity of the punishment depends on the nature of the crime, the strength of the legal defense brought by your Maryland manslaughter attorney, and the discretion of the court.
According to code √ü 2-207(b), spousal adultery is not considered a mitigating factor in whether a killing is charged as murder or manslaughter. In other words, if you discover your spouse having sexual intercourse with another individual, any resulting killing can still be charged as first or second degree murder as opposed to manslaughter, even if the killing was directly provoked by said discovery.
Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel
Maryland state code √ü 2-209 makes it illegal to kill another individual as the result of driving, operating or otherwise controlling a vessel or vehicle in a grossly negligent manner. According to code √ü 2-209(a), a vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle, train, locomotive, streetcar or engine. The associated charge is manslaughter as opposed to first or second degree murder, so long as the killing was unintentional but carried out due to gross negligence.
The penalty associated with manslaughter by vehicle, as per state code √ü 2-209(d), is a felony as well as a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both.
State code √ü 2-208 defines the requirements for charging documents related to murder and manslaughter. According to this code, the indictment must substantially state “(name of defendant) on (date) in (county) feloniously (willfully and with deliberately premeditated malice) killed (and murdered) (name of victim) against the peace, government, and dignity of the State.”
The indictment is not required to include how the victim was killed.
How an Attorney Can Help
Being charged with first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter in Maryland is extremely serious, and represents a legal journey that you should never be required to take alone, or with the assistance of an inexperienced, under-qualified legal representative. By hiring a reputable, specialized Maryland homicide and manslaughter lawyer with an excellent track record of success, you can feel confident in knowing that you’ll receive the best possible outcome to your case.
As both homicide and manslaughter are serious felony charges in Maryland, our attorneys have offices available to assist you in your local area. Manslaughter and homicide convictions both typically result in sentences including fees and imprisonment. An experienced homicide lawyer in Maryland is available at one of the following locations throughout the state.
An average of 38,827 crimes are committed in Baltimore, Maryland each year based on a 2009 estimate. Around 37 murders or non-negligent manslaughters are committed each year per 100,000 residents of the city. City leaders credit a recent drop in violent crime in the city to increased focus on convicting repeat offenders.
Around 125 violent crimes are committed in Bethesda, Maryland each year but few of these are murders or manslaughters. In fact, Bethesda ranks well below the Maryland average for violent crime each year. If you are charged with a felony crime like manslaughter or homicide in Bethesda, a qualified Maryland defense attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome at trial.
College Park represents a very low murder and manslaughter crime index when compared to both the Maryland and national averages. College Park is best recognized as the home to the University of Maryland-College Park, which results in a high student population in the area. Students can find a reputable Maryland attorney to assist them with homicide or manslaughter charges in the College Park local area.
In 2010, the violent crime rate in Columbia, MD ranked above the national average by around 8 percent. Our law offices in Columbia can assist those charged with felony homicide or manslaughter in their local area. A local attorney in Columbia or Ellicott City is experienced working with the local legal system, and is vital when fighting very serious charges like murder or non-negligent manslaughter.
Three murders were reported in Montgomery County during the first quarter of 2012, putting 2012 on track to exceed 2011′s murder rate (five reported throughout the year). Montgomery County attorneys serve the local area and specialize in homicide and manslaughter cases. Montgomery County is located just to the north of Washington D.C., southwest of Baltimore, and is home to Silver Spring as well as other notable Maryland towns and communities.
Prince George’s County
Out of 335 violent crimes reported in Prince George’s County in 2011, 15 were homicides, a sharp increase over the four reported in December of 2010. Our attorneys in Prince George’s County regularly assist clients charged with felony crimes like homicide and manslaughter, and are experienced working with judges and prosecutors in the local area such as College Park, Bowie and Hyattsville.
Located in the center of Montgomery County, Maryland, Rockville experiences around 150 violent crimes each year, a very small proportion of which are homicides or manslaughters. But due to the severity of felony charges in Maryland, our attorneys keep offices in Rockville to assist you in receiving the best possible outcome in your upcoming criminal proceedings.