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 Howard County Homicide Lawyer

The term homicide generally refers to the unlawful killing of a human being. The prohibition of killing other people may be as old as civilization itself. The three types of homicide in Howard County are first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter.  The most common affirmative defense to a homicide is that of self-defense.

To not have an attorney present at all stages of a charge related homicide is to not take this charge seriously. If you are charged with any form of homicide, consult with a Howard County homicide attorney before attending any related proceedings. An experienced criminal attorney could help you by building a defense and giving you advice on what your legal options may be.

First Degree Murder

Title 2, Subtitle 2, Section 2-201 defines first-degree murder. There are several ways that a murder could be deemed to be in the first degree. Some have to do with the intent behind the homicide while others have to do with the factual circumstances surrounding the killing.

Some ways a killing could meet the statutory requirements of first-degree murder are if it is deliberate, premeditated, and willful or if it is committed by lying in wait or by poison. Also, a murder is in the first degree if it is done in furtherance of certain other crimes such as first-degree arson, burglary, carjacking, escape from a correctional facility, kidnapping, mayhem, rape, or robbery.

According to statute, a conviction of first-degree murder will result in imprisonment for life. A Howard County homicide attorney may be able to argue that a defendant is not guilty of first-degree murder because they do not meet the specific requirements set forth in the statute.

Second Degree Murder

In Howard County, second-degree murder is defined as any murder that is not committed in the first degree. According to common law, murder is the killing of a human being with malice aforethought. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 40 years.

Because it is easier for the prosecution to prove, second-degree murder is a more common charge than first-degree murder. If a person charged with first-degree murder successfully demonstrates that their actions do not meet the statutory requirements of first-degree murder, they may still be found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Manslaughter

Manslaughter generally refers to any unlawful killing that does not amount to first or second-degree murder. Manslaughter does not require the same level of intent as murder, and can even be committed through negligent or reckless behavior. The unlawful killing of another through negligent or reckless behavior is known as involuntary manslaughter.

In Howard County, the discovery of spousal adultery is not a defense to a killing that would mitigate a murder down to the level of manslaughter. In some jurisdictions, catching one’s spouse in the act of adultery has been a mitigating factor in reducing a second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter. This is not the case in Howard County. There are some mitigating factors such as certain types of provocation however, that may reduce a charge of murder to voluntary manslaughter. In Howard County, a conviction for manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

How a Howard County Homicide Attorney Can Help

A homicide investigation often involves complex investigations and long interrogations. It is essential that you have a Howard County homicide lawyer during every procedural step of the way. If you are charged with any type of homicide crime in Howard County, consult with a homicide attorney as soon as early as possible.