If you’ve been charged with assault in Maryland, a qualified criminal lawyer can examine the details of your case to secure the best possible outcome for you in court. Assault can be charged in either the first or second degree, depending on the circumstances. First degree assault charges are always more serious than second degree assault charges. However, when second degree assault is perpetrated on a police officer or other law enforcement officer, the consequences are more severe than in other cases of second degree assault.
If you’re charged with assault in Maryland, you could be faced with a misdemeanor of felony conviction based on the details of your case. The penalties associated with either of these conviction types can be serious and life-altering, particularly if the circumstances of the case are severe. With the help of a reputable Maryland assault lawyer, you can successfully fight second or first degree assault charges and move on with your life as normal.
First Degree Assault in Maryland
In Maryland, first degree assault is defined as causing serious physical injury to another individual. That also includes the common law definition that assault is a battery, an attempted battery and putting another in fear of imminent battery. According to state code § 3-201, “serious physical injury” is defined as creating a substantial risk of death, and/or permanent or protracted disfigurement, loss of bodily function or impairment of bodily function. In addition, any assault involving a firearm or other dangerous weapon (bat, knife, box-cutter etc.) is considered first degree assault. Under state code § 3-202, a firearm can be defined as a handgun, rifle, shotgun, antique firearm, short-barreled shotgun or short-barreled rifle (§ 4-201); an assault pistol (§ 4-301); a machine gun (§ 4-401); or a regulated firearm (§ 5-501).
The penalty associated with a first degree assault conviction in Maryland can include up to 25 years in prison, as well as a felony conviction reflected on your permanent record. Other penalties could include probation, house arrest, restraining orders, driving restrictions and more, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Our experienced Maryland assault lawyers will take first degree assault charges very seriously, examining each aspect of your case in order to build a solid defense that leads to your acquittal or a reduction in your charges and/or penalties.
Second Degree Assault in Maryland
Second degree assault is defined as causing physical injury, or any impairment of physical condition, to another person. This is covered by Maryland state code § 3-203.
The penalty for second degree assault, contained under code § 3-203(b), is a misdemeanor conviction, up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
If the victim of the alleged second degree assault crime is a law enforcement, probation or parole officer, the penalties are more severe and can include up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine not to exceed $5,000. As per code § 3-203(3), second degree assault on a law enforcement officer results in a felony conviction as opposed to a misdemeanor, making future employment and obtainment of housing extremely difficult for the convicted.
In comparison to many crimes, the penalties associated with both first and second degree assault in Maryland (covered by Title 3, Subtitle 2 of the Maryland criminal law code) are highly severe and could alter the course of your life forever. By hiring a Maryland assault attorney with a solid track record of success, you’ll have the best possible chance of fighting the charges and receiving a favorable outcome on the day of your trial.
For a greater explanation of assault laws in Virginia, visit our Virginia assault lawyer page.