Get the Defense You Need with a Violent Crimes Lawyer in Maryland

If you have been accused of committing a violent crime, it is important that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. There are dozens of factors that can affect your trial and make a big difference in the outcome.

The violent crime lawyers at Houlon Berman know how the system works and can help design and present your best defense. For defense against felonies in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Rockville, North Bethesda, and the surrounding areas, Houlon Berman is your top choice.

If you find yourself in need of a violent crimes lawyer, contact Houlon Berman today so we can begin constructing your criminal defense.

Intent and State of Mind

When dealing with any sort of violent crime, the intent behind your actions will be deeply scrutinized. Your state of mind at the time the crime was committed will also be carefully examined. Additionally, you can expect your character and past actions to potentially play a role in how you are viewed and how your case is decided.

These factors are important to your case because they will impact what specific crime you are charged with. With violent crimes, the distinction between a misdemeanor, a felony, or a more serious felony, is often as simple as why you did what you did. The specifics of how you committed the crime are also very important.

Example

Here is a simple example using the crime of assault.

  1. Two men are engaged in a loud verbal argument. Each is accusing the other of misdeeds until one of the men threatens the other with bodily harm. The other man then responds with his own threats of retaliatory violence.
    • In such a situation, this threat would not be seen as “assault” as it is generally understood that in the heat of an argument, empty threats are often made.
  2. A large and angry man backs a smaller one into a corner while screaming threats and raising his fists in a decidedly menacing way. He declares that if the other man ever looks at the big man’s girlfriend again, he will “beat him to a pulp” but he does not actually touch him.
    • This situation does not represent an even or heated exchange between relative equals. This could be construed as “assault” because the big man made obvious use of the threat of violence to make the smaller man afraid.  The fact that the smaller man had a legitimate reason to fear is also crucial.
  3. Imagine the same situation except in this instance, the big man pushes the smaller man several times.
    • The physical contact could bump his actions to “assault and battery.” With minimal physical injury or contact, the sentence could still be up to a year in prison. The judge would have significant freedom in tailoring the sentence to his perception of the severity of the crime.
  4. Again, picture the situation above but in the end the smaller man is beaten severely and hospitalized.
    • The severity of the bodily harm done would most likely bump this crime to “aggravated assault and battery” which is a felony offense and punishable by up to twenty (20) years in prison.

These examples show how small escalations of the same situation can seriously alter the outcome. It becomes even more complicated if there is a discernible malicious “intent.” If it could be proven that the aggressor in our example situation formed the intent to do physical harm well before the altercation took place, then it would absolutely affect the outcome of the trial.

Types of Violent Crimes

Below is a list of violent crimes in the United States; sentencing and terminology will vary slightly by state. Intent, method, and severity are all that lay between some of these distinctions. This list doubly highlights how imperative it is to have professional legal counsel when charged with a violent crime.

  • Homicide: The act of one person killing another.
    • Murder: Intentionally taking the life of another human.
    • First-Degree Murder: Term used for an intentional murder.
    • Second-Degree Murder: Term used for an unintentional killing where the killer can be shown to have exhibited “extreme indifference to human life” and whose actions resulted in another’s death.
    • Felony Murder: A death that occurs while the accused is committing another felony. If more than one person is involved in the felony, they are ALL charged with the murder, even if one specific individual did the killing.
    • Manslaughter: Unintentionally killing another person through reckless conduct.
    • Negligent Homicide: Negligence resulting in someone’s death.

For more information, visit our page about the different types of murder charges.

  • Assault: The threat of physical injury but with no actual physical contact.
    • Battery: Offensive contact against another person (often lumped in with Assault)
    • Simple Assault or Battery: Causing minor or low-level physical injury.
    • Aggravated Assault or Battery: Physical contact resulting in serious injury, also applied to any use of a dangerous or deadly weapon.
    • Vehicular Assault: Driving that results in an injury, or that was intended to cause harm.
    • Spousal Assault: Violence between domestic partners.
  • Rape: Using force to compel another to have sexual intercourse. Also includes sexual intercourse between individuals under eighteen (18) and adults, consent of the minor is irrelevant.
    • “Date Rape”: Forced intercourse between two individuals with an existing social relationship.
    • “Stranger Rape”: Forced intercourse committed by a person who is a stranger to the victim.

Other Factors

There are also protected classes of people and perpetrating a violent crime against them will increase or alter your sentence. These include:

  • Disabled Individuals
  • The Elderly
  • Police Officers
  • Emergency Medical Workers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Social Service Workers
  • Correctional Officers
  • Judges
  • Mental Health Care Providers
  • Utility Workers

Contact Houlon Berman

With all the factors in play that will determine the outcome of your trial, you need a criminal defense lawyer that understands violent crime and how to properly mount a defense against it.

The criminal law team at Houlon Berman has developed a reputation for excellence through their hard work, determination, and persistent success on behalf of their clients. When your future is at stake, and serious charges must be met, choose the law firm of Houlon, Berman, Finci, Levenstein, Skok & Sandler. Don’t waste any time, talk with a violent crime lawyer about your case today.

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