Cecil County Homicide Lawyer
Homicide is one of the most severe criminal charges that you could face in Cecil County, with a conviction often leading to a lengthy or even life-long jail sentence.
Since it is such a serious accusation, homicide charges are complicated and full of nuance that a Cecil County homicide lawyer could use to your benefit. A skilled criminal attorney could stand by your side to fight the homicide charges. If a conviction cannot be avoided, an attorney could attempt to reduce the penalties.
What is Homicide?
In Cecil County, homicide is the unlawful killing of another human being. Since there is a huge range of ways for this to happen, the law recognizes several different types of homicide. Some are more severe than others and may carry higher penalties upon conviction. A Cecil County attorney could challenge specific pieces of evidence that make a homicide charge more severe.
The most serious type of homicide is murder. Murder charges are classified in two degrees or as felony murder.
First-degree murder involves the premeditated killing of someone else. The act is typically done willfully or by poisoning. Additionally, killing a police officer is always a first-degree murder in Cecil County.
Second-degree murder is any other intentional murder that does not fall within the realm of first-degree murder. People who face second-degree murder charges are being accused of killing someone else intentionally yet with intensity and in a blind fit of rage.
Felony murder charges could follow the killing of someone else while another felony-level offense was being committed. This could include armed robbery.
Manslaughter charges could follow the unintentional killing of another person in Cecil County. These charges also appear in two forms: Voluntary and involuntary.
Penalties for a Homicide Conviction
Because of the extreme nature of homicide, the penalties for a conviction are among the harshest available. While the death penalty is no longer an option in Cecil County – capital punishment was abolished in 2013 – a conviction for first-degree murder could lead to a lifetime jail sentence without the possibility of parole. Even a conviction for manslaughter may come with up to ten years in jail and up to $500 in fines.
Defending Against a Charge of Homicide
Due to the steep penalties for homicide, accused individuals may want to hire a Cecil County attorney experienced in homicide soon after an arrest to plan a defense strategy. There are several important legal defenses that could be raised to combat a charge of homicide.
Signs of Intent
One of the most important elements that the prosecutor must be proven in a homicide case is the accused’s intent. Intentional killings amount to murder, while unintentional killings are classified as manslaughter. Murders that are carefully planned and premeditated carry higher penalties.
An important part of defending against a homicide accusation is attacking the signs of intent that the prosecutor uses in their case. Successfully raising reasonable doubts about these signs of intent is a common way to reduce the severity of the homicide charge.
Fourth Amendment Rights
Much of the evidence used by prosecutors in a homicide case comes from searches and seizures done by police. If any of those searches or seizures were unreasonable and infringed on a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights, the evidence obtained from the violation could be excluded from the court proceedings.
Some homicides are justified by law. The most common example of a justified homicide is when it was done in self-defense. Proving that the incident was self-defense is tricky and very fact-intensive, but it may lead to the charges being dropped or an outright acquittal at trial.
How a Cecil County Homicide Attorney Can Help
If you were accused of homicide, the stakes could not be higher. Murder or manslaughter charges are among the most severe accusations you can face in Cecil County. Raising a successful defense against them may prevent a life-altering conviction.
By hiring a Cecil County homicide lawyer, you are securing legal representation that could challenge the prosecutor’s case and raise strong defenses on your behalf. Contact an attorney today.