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Defending Murder Charges in Waldorf, Maryland

If you have been arrested and charged with murder here in Charles County, Maryland, call us at the Law Office of Robert Castro at (301) 705-5137. We are experienced and courtroom-tested Maryland criminal defense attorneys. We are available around the clock, 24/7.

For murder charges, there are many possible defense strategies. For any type of crime, there are several possible defenses, including the following:

  • Innocence — the killing was done by someone else
  • Alibi — the defendant was not at the scene of the crime
  • Mistaken identity — similar
  • Defense of self or defense of another
  • Lack of or diminished mental capacity
  • Exclusion of evidence for law enforcement violation of constitutional protections
  • Exclusion of evidence for violations of procedural and processing requirements

In addition, for any crime, including murder, criminal defenses can be built on the statutory definitions of the crime. The prosecuting attorneys must prove each element of any crime and must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. For murder, the elements of the crime are:

  • The deliberate killing of another person
  • Intent to kill or cause the death
  • Premeditation — typically defined to mean advance planning of some sort

Pursuant to Md. Code, Crim. Law § 2-201, the elements of murder also include killing via poison, lying in wait, and a killing that occurs as a result of a violent crime like arson or armed robbery.

From these elements, depending on the facts involved, various criminal defenses could be put forth. For example, if the killing was not deliberate, then there can be no conviction for first-degree murder. Likewise, if there is no evidence of advance planning — premeditation — then there can be no conviction for murder.

That being said, with almost any criminal case where a person is killed, the government prosecutors will charge as many possible crimes as the facts will support. Thus, almost always, a first-degree murder charge will be charged along with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Second-degree murder is the killing of a person without premeditation, and involuntary manslaughter is a killing without intent or premeditation. Involuntary manslaughter generally requires proof of gross negligence or criminal negligence.

The goal of any criminal defense is to obtain acquittals on all charges. However, if that is not possible, then the secondary goal is to obtain acquittals on all of the most serious charges. Thus, if the first-degree murder charge can be defeated, but the second-degree charge cannot, that must still be considered a victory. Lesser charges involve lesser penalties, often significantly lesser penalties.

For these reasons, a successful criminal defense also involves strategies and tactics related to plea bargaining. If the evidence suggests that a lesser charge will result in a conviction, it may be best to offer a plea of guilty to that lesser charge in exchange for the dismissal of more serious charges and favorable sentencing recommendations.

Contact Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301) 705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD, Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD, 20601.