How Does Maryland Address Murder Crimes?
Murder is a violent crime with irreversible consequences. When a murderer takes the life of a victim, there is no way to undo the damage. The victim’s family members cannot bring their loved one back from the dead. As a result, Maryland imposes serious consequences for actual or attempted murder in the first and second degree.
Murder in the First Degree
Under Maryland Criminal Law Code Section 2-201, first-degree murder applies to the intentional and calculated killing of another person. Under Section 2-201, a homicide qualifies as first-degree murder if:
- The murderer kills the victim in a deliberate, premeditated and willful manner;
- The murderer kills the victim by lying in wait; or
- The murderer kills the victim by using poison.
Section 2-201 provides another version of first-degree murder that involves other crimes. If the murderer kills the victim while committing — or attempting to commit — certain specific felony crimes, it qualifies as first-degree murder. Section 2-201 includes following felony crimes:
- Arson in the first degree;
- Burning a barn, stable, tobacco house, warehouse or other outbuilding;
- Burglary in the first, second or third degree;
- Carjacking or armed carjacking;
- Criminal use of destructive devices.
- Escape in the first degree from prison or other correctional facility;
- Sexual offense in the first or second degree; or
If a person commits first-degree murder in Maryland, it is a felony crime with a sentence of life in prison. In the most severe cases, the murderer may even face imprisonment for life without the chance of parole.
Murder in the Second Degree
Under Maryland Criminal Law Code Section 2-204, second-degree murder is a catch-all offense. Section 2-204 does not include a specific breakdown of different types of second-degree murder. Instead, second-degree murder applies to any murder that does not qualify as first-degree murder. If a person commits second-degree murder in Maryland, it is a felony crime with a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
Attempted Murder in the First or Second Degree
If a person attempts to commit murder and fails, it is also a crime, though the penalties change based on the type of murder in question. For example:
- Attempted First-Degree Murder — Results in felony charges and up to life in prison under Maryland Criminal Law Code Section 2-205; and
- Attempted Second-Degree Murder — Results in felony charges and up to 30 years in prison under Maryland Criminal Law Code Section 2-206.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are facing criminal charges for murder in the first or second degree in Maryland, it can be acutely constructive to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered in Bel Air, Maryland can assist you throughout each step of your case. Contact us today for help.