What is the Difference Between Murder in the First Degree and Second Degree Murder?
All other murders committed in Maryland are assumed to be “murder in the second”. If the State can’t prove willful premeditation [i.e. first-degree murder], then second-degree murder is the appropriate charge [unless of course, as a good criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore will argue, there is sufficient provocation to mitigate murder to manslaughter].
The essential difference between murder in the first, and murder in the second is the absence of deliberation and premeditation in the latter.
The fundamental difference between either degree of murder and manslaughter is an absence of malice in latter.1 The other highly significant difference is in the sentence. Whereas a first-degree murder conviction will get the perpetrator life, a second-degree murder conviction carries a penalty of up to 30 years.
I offer a free planning and strategy session to anyone accused of a crime. At this meeting, we will evaluate the evidence, examine the strength of the State’s case, and analyze the most effective defense. If the State has chosen to prosecute you, contact me today. 410 591 2935
FN1 Lindsay v. State, 258 A.2d 760.