Homicide is the most serious of all felony criminal charges because it involves the taking of another’s life. Because homicide results in death, it is aggressively prosecuted and subject to the most stringent legal penalties and criminal punishments. Our Maryland criminal attorneys are skilled at representing clients accused in homicide cases from manslaughter to murder, and offer exceptional defense against serious felony charges across the state.
Maryland Homicide Charges
Though the term “homicide” is often thought of in conjunction with deliberate, premeditated murder, the word itself refers to the taking of a human life, regardless of whether the act was illegal or intentional. In fact, there are cases of “justifiable homicide,” such as in self-defense, where the taking of another’s life is not only legal, but necessary and warranted.
Criminal homicide charges in Maryland range from manslaughter, or unintentional killing, to first degree murder, a deliberate and premeditated act. Felony homicide charges in Maryland include:
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Attempted Murder
- Second Degree Murder
- First Degree Murder
- Capital Murder
Manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter are considered the least serious homicide offenses, because they occur without malice or intent. However, the taking of a human life is never taken lightly, and penalties for manslaughter can include up to ten years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
First degree murder is the most serious felony homicide charge. Murder is said to be in the first degree if it is determined to be premeditated, deliberate, and malicious. A homicide is also considered first degree murder if it occurs during the commission of a felony such as robbery, rape, kidnapping, or arson. Certain factors in a first degree murder case can increase the sentence to include life in prison without parole. (Prior to 2013, certain circumstances allowed the prosecution to seek the death penalty, but in May of that year Governor Martin O’Malley signed legislation into effect repealing the possibility of capital punishment for future offenders in Maryland.)
Regardless of the level of homicide with which you have been charged, it is critical to obtain strong legal defense from an experienced attorney. Homicide cases are notoriously complex, and you need a defense attorney who understands the nuances and subtleties of a homicide charge and who has the experience to refute the evidence of the prosecution.
Maryland Homicide Defense
If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter, our attorneys have the necessary resources to uncover every possibility for your defense. They will closely evaluate your case to determine the best strategy, whether by potentially obtaining a reduction in charges or by fighting aggressively for your acquittal. They will pursue all options, and work closely to uncover evidence for your defense by consulting experts such as:
- Forensic Scientists
- Ballistics Experts
- Private Investigators
- Medical Experts
If you are up against murder or manslaughter charges, you cannot afford to take a chance with anything less than the best possible legal representation. Even if you merely suspect you may be under investigation for homicide, you should avail yourself of your right to counsel from a qualified Maryland homicide lawyer as soon as possible. Any statements you make to police or anyone else can be used against you in court at a later date, so contact an attorney immediately to give yourself the best possible chance against the charges you may be facing. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.