Types of Murder Charges

Types of Murder Charges

Understanding Different Types of Murder Charges in Maryland

Have you or someone you love been charged with murder? Do you need help understanding what to do next? Different types of murder charges are used to classify the offenses, but they all have grave consequences. As one of the top law firms in Maryland, Houlon Berman provides personal assistance to make sure your case gets the attention it deserves.

Let our experienced attorneys walk you through the types of murder charges in Maryland, and show you how we can help you get the guidance you need.

Murder Charges Defined

Murder is the act of deliberately taking a person’s life. There are several levels of murder charges in Maryland, including first degree, second degree, and felony murder. The different types of murder charges have unique circumstances and penalties.

First Degree Murder

With first degree murder, the defendant planned to kill the victim. Since the act was premeditated, the penalty is severe.

Those convicted of first degree murder face two possible penalties:

  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole
  • Life in prison without the possibility of parole

Second Degree Murder

The difference between first degree and second degree murder is that second degree lacks premeditation. This occurs, for example, when an individual kills someone in the heat of an argument. They intended to kill or cause serious bodily harm at that moment, but they had not planned to do so ahead of time.

The punishment for second degree murder is life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.

Felony Murder

Felony murder is the act of killing an individual while committing a felony crime, such as a robbery. For instance, if the defendant was robbing an establishment and, in the process of his escape, he accidentally ran over a security guard, he could be charged with felony murder.

If convicted, the defendant faces a felony murder sentence, which could mean life in prison.

Potential Defenses for Murder Charges

There are many possible strategies to defend against the different types of murder charges. Common defenses include diminished capacity or self-defense, among others. We will determine the best strategy for your defense using the details of your case.

Diminished Capacity

When using the diminished mental capacity defense, the defendant’s ability to form intent is questioned. If it is unclear whether the defendant fully intended to commit the crime, it’s possible that he will be held accountable for a lesser charge, or even be acquitted.

Those with diminished capacity include the mentally ill, individuals who are mentally impaired due to intoxication or head trauma, and minors.

People who have mental disorders can be found not guilty due to insanity. In this case, the person is not freed, but is often placed in a mental institution.


If the defendant acted out of self-preservation, the jury might deem the offense a justifiable homicide. As a result, the defendant would be acquitted of that particular charge.

Get Help Now

If you are worried about your future because you, or someone you love, are facing murder charges, don’t risk your freedom. The right defense could save you from life in prison.

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