What is felony murder?

People often-reasonably– equate murder charges with killing someone-therefore, if someone has not physically committed the act of murdering someone, they do not understand how murder charges can follow. However, under the legal concept of felony murder rule, a person is charged with first-degree murder even if a murder results during the commission of certain violent crimes.

Generally, first degree murder takes place when someone willfully kills someone and commits the murder with some planning. This means when it comes to murder charges, it must be proven that the Maryland resident demonstrated an intent to end someone else’s life in a deliberated and preplanned move. Though it is not possible to say how far back the plan must have been conceived, it is generally held that it must have been before the actual act took place.

This leads to the question-if intent and planning must be present, how is it possible to face murder charges if the death was an accidental one? According to the felony-murder rule, if the death takes place during the commission of violent crimes such as robbery, kidnapping or rape, even if the perpetrators do not commit the murder, they can still be charged with it. In addition to this, certain types of killings, such as those that involve unreasonable use of force against a child or during domestic abuse are considered murder even where the individual elements mentioned above cannot be proven.

Understanding the different categories of murder are very important in order to ensure an effective and aggressive defense can be prepared. Knowing the elements of a crime can ensure relevant evidence is gathered and strategy planned. An experienced defense attorney can help Maryland residents enforce their right to a fair trial.