Prince George’s County Homicide Lawyer
The most serious offenses in Maryland’s criminal courts are those that involve the death of another human being. However, it is a common misnomer that any death caused by another person is murder. Maryland’s criminal law creates no fewer than three levels of crime that describe a death caused by a criminal act.
No matter the version of homicide that a defendant is facing, the potential punishments for a conviction will forever change their life. Even the lowest level of homicide, manslaughter, can result in a multi-year prison sentence.
Regardless of the version of homicide, a Prince George’s County homicide lawyer may be able to help. They work with potential clients to analyze the prosecutor’s case, to identify realistic goals, and to work towards those goals in court. Individuals accused of homicide should retain the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney could build a solid defense for them.
The Catagories of Murder
A murder is any killing where the defendant is alleged to have intentionally caused the death of the victim. This differs from manslaughter, which is any death that results from a defendant’s reckless or criminally negligent conduct.
Murder is further separated into two categories. The most serious version is known as murder in the first degree. According to Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §2-201, first-degree murder involves:
- A deliberate or premeditated killing
- A killing committed after lying in wait
- A killing by poison
- A death that results from the commission of another felony such as burglary, arson, carjacking, or rape
While Maryland no longer uses the death penalty, a murder in the first-degree conviction can result in any prison sentence, up to and including life without parole.
Less serious murders are known as murder in the second degree. Under Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §2-204, a second-degree murder is any other intentional killing that does not meet the criteria listed above. This typically includes a killing that is not planned but follows a defendant’s intentional act, such as an assault that gets out of hand. Murder in the second-degree carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. A PG County homicide lawyer could mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Not every criminal death is the result of intentional conduct. Some homicides are the result of a defendant’s reckless or criminally negligent behavior. A common example of this is manslaughter through grossly negligent driving such as driving while drunk. According to Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §2-209, driving any sort of vehicle in a grossly negligent way that causes a death is a felony that can result in up to 10 years imprisonment for a first offense.
A similar statute also outlaws killing that results from driving with criminal negligence. Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §2-210 states that any person who drives in such a manner that places others in substantial and unjustifiable risk, and causes a death, is guilty of manslaughter by vehicle. A conviction here is a misdemeanor that can result in no more than three years in jail and a fine of no more than $5,000.
These charges can follow when a person is driving much faster than posted limits or runs a stop sign causing an accident. In general, the underlying behavior that led to the incident must have been intentional although the defendant certainly did not mean to kill another person.
How a Prince George’s County Homicide Attorney Can Help
Homicide is far from a one-size fits all concept in Maryland’s criminal law. Homicide is any unlawful death caused by the actions of another. When these actions deliberately target another individual, this is known as murder. When a person acts in a reckless or criminally negligent way and causes a death, this is known as manslaughter. In any event, a conviction for any homicide type charge is a serious matter that will forever change a person’s life.
A Prince George’s County homicide lawyer could dedicate themselves to fighting convictions and attempting to clear names. They work from day one to perform independent investigations of the death, to interview witnesses, to form theories of the case, and to protect peoples’ Constitutional rights and freedoms in court. Let an experienced lawyer fight for you; contact a PG County homicide attorney today.