If you’re facing murder charges, you should understand how serious of penalties you may be facing. Your case is unique, but depending on which charges you’re facing, your punishment could range from a few hundred dollars in fines to a life in prison.
Murder charges also affect your future opportunities like career prospects, mortgage loans, education opportunities, and more. With such serious impacts, murder charges should not be taken lightly.
The best thing you can do if you’re looking at murder charges in Gaithersburg is to consult a murder defense expert in the area. The defense team have decades of experience defending and winning murder trials in the state of Maryland.
If you or a loved one is facing murder charges of any kind, contact our offices in Gaithersburg for a free legal consultation.
Different Types of Murder Charges
Murder, homicide, manslaughter, and other murder terms are thrown around a lot. But, the truth is that all of these terms carry different meanings, and each charge comes with different penalties.
For example, homicide is defined as killing another person, but does not imply criminal intent. As a result, homicide is not always considered a crime. For example, self defense can be considered homicide, but does not always get charged as a crime.
Murder, on the other hand, occurs when there is an unlawful killing of a human being. Murder is always charged as a crime.
When it comes to the nuances between the different murder charges in Maryland, each case will involve many factors that ultimately decide the charges you’re faced with and your punishment. Let’s go through each of the different murder charges in Gaithersburg.
Murder in the First Degree
First degree murder is a felony, and is murder that is willfull, premeditated, or deliberate. Murder can take place in many ways, some of which involve lying in wait, arson, poisoning, kidnapping, rape, and other crimes.
First Degree Murder Punishments
As the most serious murder charge, first degree murder carries the harshest penalty of all. The potential sentence you may receive is a maximum of life in prison without the opportunity for parole.
Murder in the Second Degree
The definition of second degree murder according to Maryland Criminal Code § 2-204 is murder that is not defined as willful, premeditated, or deliberate. The main distinction of second degree murder is that it requires intent. For example, if someone kills another person during a state of unplanned rage, the charge would be second degree murder.
Penalites for Second Degree Murder
Second degree murder is a felony in Maryland, and comes with a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
Manslaughter differs from second degree murder in that second degree murder requires intent while manslaughter lacks malice intent. Voluntary manslaughter is often referred to as a killing in the “heat of passion”. This refers to an overwhelming emotional feeling that other humans could experience in a similar situation.
Involuntary manslaughter refers to the unintentional killing of another. It could result from criminal negligence or recklessness. An example is killing someone as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol.
In the state of Maryland, manslaughter is considered a felony. Voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and $500 fines. Involuntary manslaughter is also a felony with a lesser penalty. The punishment for involuntary manslaughter is up to two years in prison and $500 fines.
Vehicular manslaughter can happen in two ways: with gross negligence or criminal negligence.
Vehicular Manslaughter Punishments
Vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence carries a felony charge with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Vehicular manslaughter with criminal negligence carries a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Vehicular homicide can carry a few different charges. Here are the different vehicular homicide charges in Maryland:
- Vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol
- Vehicular homicide while impaired by alcohol
- Vehicular homicide while impaired by drugs
- Vehicular homicide while impaired by a controlled substance
Each vehicular homicide charge carries a different penalty.
Vehicular Homicide Punishments
The most severe charge is vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol. It is a felony crime that carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Vehicular homicide while imparied by alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance is also charged as a felony with lesser penalties. You will face up to 3 years in prison and $5,000 in fines for these charges.
Get in Touch with Experienced Murder Defense Lawyers
Murder charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies with life sentences and hefty fines. Mounting a strong defense for your case is your best chance of lessening your penalties or avoiding them all together.
At Jezic & Moyse, our criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience defending murder trials in Gaithersburg, and have helped countless clients avoid harsh punishments. Contact our offices today for a free consultation about your case. We’ll hear out your case, and start crafting a great defense for you right away.
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