In Maryland, assault is defined as one of three scenarios
- Attempted Battery – an attempt to cause offensive, non-consensual physical contact with another person.
- Intent to Frighten – intentionally creating the fear in another person of immediate, offensive, non-consensual physical contact with the other person.
- Battery – actually causing the offensive, non-consensual physical contact with the other person.
It is important to note that you can be charged with assault without actually making physical contact with the other person. In Maryland, The punishment for an assault will depend on the injury to the other person and the risk created by the conduct.
Degrees of assault in Maryland
First Degree Assault:
This form of assault is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of thirty years in prison. To sustain a conviction of first degree assault, the prosecutor must prove that a firearm was used during the act, or the defendant intended to cause serious physical injury to the victim. Serious physical injury involves a substantial risk of death or serious and permanent bodily harm to the victim.
Second Degree Assault:
This form of assault is a misdemeanor, but still carries a substantial maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. If the victim is a police officer, then the crime is classified as a felony and the fine is doubled.
An assault conviction can have important future consequences affecting employment, occupational licensing, financing, and the ability of non-citizens to remain in the United States. Contacting a Maryland assault lawyer can make navigating the legal system much easier, and help you take a proactive approach to resolve such an issue in a way that most benefits your needs.
Understanding assault, battery, and aggravated assault
All of these charges mean an individual intended to do harm to another person. But often, these charges are interchanged and mixed up by individuals who do not practice law, making the definition unclear. Any altercation that results in physical contact usually results in a charge of assault, battery, or both. Depending on the degree of the assault, and if a weapon was used, an assault can be considered an aggravated assault. Here, we explain each charge, and what can happen as a result:
Assault: Contrary to popular belief, assault does not have to involve a physical altercation. An individual can be charged with assault if they act intentionally to make another person fear they are going to suffer physical harm. This is common when one party makes threats against another. A misdemeanor assault charge can still result in up to 10 years in prison.
Battery: In Maryland, battery is considered the unwanted physical touching of another individual. Any physical altercation usually results in charges of assault and battery.
Aggravated assault: An assault can be considered aggravated based on many different factors. Usually, an aggravated assault occurs when an individual uses a deadly weapon, causes serious bodily injury, or intends to cause serious harm to another party. Depending on the degree, aggravated assault can result in a max jail time of 10-25 years (dependent on offense history).
All forms of assault charges can seriously affect an individual’s personal life. If you are facing assault charges, your first call should be made to a qualified criminal defense attorney. With the right legal representation, you have the chance to beat an assault charge and keep your record clean.
Often grouped in the assault category (though its own separate charge), reckless endangerment occurs when an individual engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk to cause serious injury or death to another person. Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor charge that can result in up to five years in prison, and/or a fine of $5,000. Common instances of reckless endangerment include:
- Leaving loaded firearms unattended around children
- Throwing rocks at cars
- Having a child in the car while operating under the influence
- Leaving a child in a hot car
- Buying alcohol for minors
For a greater explanation of assault laws in Maryland please consult the Maryland Official Code.
If you face one or more of these charges it is crucial to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.