FREE Case Evaluation
Maryland Assault Attorney
Two general types of assault exist in Maryland under Sections 3-202 and 3-203 of the criminal Code of Maryland. Section 3-202 covers the more serious of the two, namely felony assault in the first degree. Although classified as a misdemeanor, second degree assault is still a serious criminal charge that can result in a penalty of up to ten years’ imprisonment and a $2,500.00 fine. A Maryland defense lawyer with Price Benowitz can help you achieve the best possible outcome if you are facing charges of assault or domestic violence. A free initial consultation can help you determine whether pleading down felony charges is possible in your particular case. More information on Maryland assault laws is available here.
Read full transcript
There are various kinds of assault in Maryland. You can be charged with a first degree assault — which is sometimes referred to as a felony assault — or a second degree assault, which is sometimes referred to as a simple assault. The difference between these two kinds of charges is dramatic because of the amount of time that they potentially carry. A misdemeanor assault for example can carry a period of up to 10 years of incarceration but a felony assault can go all the way up to 25 years of incarceration.
Starting with a misdemeanor assault, I can tell you that usually these kinds of assaults are what you would typically expect to see in a bar fight or with a minor domestic violence dispute. In these kinds of situations, there is usually no permanent or serious physical injury to another party, but rather unconsented touching or contact with another person. Usually these cases are handled by the District Court in Maryland. The District Court, which is responsible for primarily prosecuting misdemeanor cases, is going to hear misdemeanor assault or assault second degree cases usually on a docket.
That docket is going to have many other similar types of charges on it, and a prosecutor is going to be working all of those cases with the various defense attorneys in that room. Usually when somebody is charged with a misdemeanor assault offense, they can expect that they are going to be questioned by the police, they are going to obviously give a statement — usually their version of events — and usually there is going to be an inquiry into the level and seriousness of the injuries that might take place against another party in the course of that assault.
What you should know is that immediately after you are charged with an assault or during an assault investigation, particularly for a misdemeanor assault, you should not answer any questions about your version of the events. Very likely, the police officers are going to arrest you anyway and are trying to get you to commit to statements before you have hired an attorney so that they can be used against you in a court of law. Usually committing to statements like this in the heat of the moment, immediately after your arrested or during the course of an investigation for an assault, can be extremely detrimental when you’re faced with a criminal charge on your court date.
In a felony assault case where there is permanent injury, some sort of serious physical injury or the threat of death or serious physical harm, you are going to see that case handled in the Circuit Court of Maryland. Again, Circuit Court is a place where primarily felonies are prosecuted, and these are typically more serious cases, sometimes involving a weapon, and again often involving very serious physical injury to another party. The investigation process is the same as it would be in a misdemeanor assault situation where a police officer might come to the scene, might ask for interviews from various people who were involved, particularly the person that is accused.
Again, in this situation, you do not want to present the officer or whoever is investigating the matter with too much information before contacting an attorney because, for the same reason, they are trying to build a case against you and these statements can often be used in a court of law to prosecute your case.
Maryland state law also covers a variety of different laws regarding assault and domestic violence, which differ in penalties based on the nature of the alleged crime. For example, assault on a law enforcement officer, probation officer, or parole agent is a very serious accusation in the state, carrying a possible penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and a $5,000.00 fine, detailed under Section 3-203(c)(2).
Both aggravated assault and domestic violence reports have been on the decline in Maryland since 2006. In 2010, the Disaster Center estimated the total aggravated assaults in the state at 18,909, down from 22,011 in 2006. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention in Maryland also estimated the 2010 number of domestic violence crimes in the state at 17,931, down 18.4 percent from 21,965 in 2006.
Assault Law Info
- Maryland Assault Law
- Maryland Domestic Violence Law
Charges of domestic violence or assault may be harmful financially and in your personal life. Please call (301) 761-4842 for a free consultation with an attorney.
Maryland Assault Law
Section 3-202 of Maryland state law forbids any person from intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to another person. Section 3-202 also specifies penalties for committing assault with a deadly weapon in Maryland, including antique firearms, shotguns, machine guns, and regulated firearms. Assault with a deadly weapon is nearly always charged as assault in the first degree.
First-degree assault is a very serious charge in Maryland, carrying a possible penalty of up to 25 years’ imprisonment. In order to be charged with first degree assault, the state must prove the following:
- That the crime meets all elements of second-degree assault, and
- The crime was committed with a firearm, or the intent of the assault was serious physical injury.
Maryland defines serious physical injury as a scenario that presents a reasonable risk of death on the part of the alleged victim or results in serious injuries that disfigure the victim or impair some bodily function. If you have been charged with first-degree assault in Maryland, an expert Maryland defense lawyer can help you understand your charges and how best to approach them.
Second-degree assault differs from first-degree assault in Maryland in that it is a less serious charge, but it still carries a hefty potential penalty that a Maryland defense lawyer can help you fight. The maximum penalty for second-degree assault is 10 years’ imprisonment. Under Section 3-203, any unwanted physical contact can be considered assault, even if it doesn’t ultimately cause injury. Assault that poses no risk of death or serious injury is normally charged as second-degree assault, however, there are some exceptions as discussed below.
Against a Law Enforcement Officer, Parole/Probation Agent
Even second-degree assault in Maryland can be charged as a felony if the assault is allegedly committed against a law enforcement officer, parole officer, or probation agent. Felony charges typically only result if the alleged victim was engaged in the performance of his or her official duties, or the injuries suffered were more than minor injuries (impaired a physical condition). According to Section 3-203, anyone that commits second-degree assault on a government agent, such as a law enforcement officer, is guilty of a felony, punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.00.
If you are charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, you should be aware of the severity of the charges. If the assault is committed with a deadly weapon, you could face first-degree assault charges rather than assault in the second degree. A Maryland defense lawyer specializing in assault is vital to helping you navigate the Maryland court system quickly and safely.
According to Section 3-204 of the criminal code, reckless endangerment is illegal. This section states that a person may not:
- Recklessly engage in any conduct that establishes a substantial risk of physical injury or death to another person
- Recklessly discharge a firearm from a car or other motor vehicle in a way that establishes a serious risk of physical injury or death to another person
The penalty for this crime, according to state code Section 3-204(b), is a misdemeanor conviction as well as a fine of up to $5,000.00 and a jail sentence of up to five years.
Section 3-204(c) lists the exceptions for crimes of reckless endangerment. The section regarding the reckless endangerment of another individual does not apply to the production, manufacture or sale of a commodity or product, nor does it apply to use of a motor vehicle covered by Section 11-135 of the transportation code. According to this provision, a motor vehicle is a vehicle that is propelled by overhead electrical wires or self-propelled, and is not operated on rails. This same code states that mopeds and motor scooters are not considered motor vehicles.
In addition, the section regarding reckless discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle does not apply to security guards or law enforcement officers in the performance of official duties, or individuals acting in defense of a violent crime such as an attempted carjacking.
In the state of Maryland, sexual assault
Maryland Domestic Violence Law
Domestic violence in Maryland does not necessarily imply physical contact— an important distinction, especially in regards to protective orders issued by the state. Some behaviors falling under Maryland domestic violence law can include threatening comments, controlling access to friends/family, and physical abuse. Domestic violence can result in a host of charges depending on whether a first or second degree assault occurred during the alleged altercation. More often, a Maryland court will issue a court order or enforce an out-of-state protective order for the victim. If you are being charged with domestic violence or facing a protective order, a Maryland defense lawyer can help you understand the charges and dispute the legitimacy of the order.
Domestic violence is covered under Maryland family law, beginning with Section 4-508.1, which describes the penalties for violating an out-of-state protective order. While all offenses are normally charged as misdemeanors, the penalty differs based on the number of offenses. For example, first-time offenders face up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. Subsequent offenses can increase the maximum jail time to one year and increase the fine to a possible $2,500.00.
If the protective order is issued by the state of Maryland and is violated, the perpetrator can be convicted under FL Section 4-509, which allows for a 90-day imprisonment and $1,000.00 fine for first-time offenders. Subsequent offenses carry a maximum potential penalty of one year of imprisonment and a $2,500.00 fine.
Our Maryland assault defense lawyers handle both assault and domestic violence cases on a regular basis from a number of offices throughout the state of Maryland. Choosing an attorney close to your home or work makes it easier for you to have regular contact with your attorney, and gives you the peace of mind that comes from working with a qualified, professional Maryland defense lawyer who has familiarity with the local court system. Stop by any of our offices in the following locations for your free initial consultation if you have been charged with assault or domestic violence.
If you’re facing charges in Baltimore for assault or domestic violence, your first priority should be to contact a qualified defense lawyer to support your rights in court. Our Maryland defense lawyers specializing in assault have an office conveniently located in Baltimore to give you all the access you’ll need to your dedicated defense team. There were an estimated 5,492 aggravated assaults reported in Baltimore during 2010, as well as an additional 3,824 violent crimes. This ranked Baltimore about 260.66% higher than the national average for violent crime rates.
Despite ranking as the “best-educated city in the U.S.” according the 2000 Census, Bethesda is not without its share of violent crime. An average of 125 violent crimes are reported in Bethesda each year. While this might seem small, it actually gives Bethesda a higher crime per square mile average than the rest of Maryland. If you’ve been charged with a violent crime in Bethesda, such as assault, you need a dedicated and professional legal defense team prepared to help you challenge the state in court.
The home of the flagship institution of the Maryland university system, College Park is a bustling college town that also houses a facility of the U.S. National Archives known as “Archives II.” An average of 145 violent crimes, including assault, are reported each year in College Park, separate from incidents of domestic violence. While this ranks College Park under the Maryland violent crime median, it also ranks the city 0.77 crimes per 1,000 residents higher than the national average.
On average, there are around 322.3 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents reported in Columbia and nearby areas each year. Our Maryland defense lawyers in Columbia work with many local clients charged with either assault or domestic violence. The lawyers of Price Benowitz have a reputation for developing aggressive defenses to help you fight charges and move on with your life.
Southwest of Baltimore, Montgomery County is home to 971,777 residents and includes the heavily-populated regions of Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Germantown. During the first quarter of 2012, there were 193 reported aggravated assaults within Montgomery County, a 46.2 percent increase from the first quarter of 2011. In addition to working with clients charged with domestic violence, our defense attorneys in Montgomery County are experienced in defending clients facing any type of assault charge.
Prince George’s County
Around 374 aggravated assaults were reported in Prince George’s County from December 2009 to January 2010, a large percentage of the 845 violent crimes in the county during the same time period. The Prince George’s County Police Department conducted a twenty-year study of crime rates in the county in 2004, when 3,220 assaults were reported in the area. This is a 44.9 percent increase from the number assaults reported in the county during the first year of the study — 2,222 in 1984. Assault and domestic violence are both serious charges in Prince George’s County. A qualified Maryland assault defense lawyer in Prince George’s County can help you receive the best possible outcome in your case.
Rockville experienced 39 aggravated assaults in 2011, a 5 percent decrease from 2010. This represented a portion of the 150 annual violent crimes the city reports. Whether you’re facing assault or domestic violence charges, our aggressive Maryland defense attorneys in Rockville can help you build a strong case in your defense against the state. Rockville serves as the county seat of Montgomery County and is home to around 61,209 residents as of 2010.
The City of Hyattsville acts as a buffer between the District of Columbia and the rest of Prince George’s County. It also shares a unique relationship with the University of Maryland in that the campus is not located within its borders, but due to the proximity a number of students reside in Hyattsville during the academic year. Our assault lawyers in Hyattsville can provide legal representation if you are facing criminal charges for assault.
Silver Spring is just north of Washington, D.C., and it has an emerging downtown district that features numerous of restaurants and evening activities. As a result, the area is always booming, particularly on weekend nights when people from the surrounding towns come in to take advantage of the nightlife. If this leads to an incident that results in an assault charge, our attorneys in Silver Spring will be able to help you fight that charge to the best of their ability.
If you or a loved one have been charged with assault in Washington DC, please contact Price Benowitz’s DC office (information can be found by clicking here). Alternatively, if you are looking for legal representation for criminal charges in Virginia, Price Benowitz also has attorneys who are licensed to practice in the Commonwealth. More information about our services in Virginia can be found by visiting the following page.
Kush Arora in His Own Words
Below is a link to a question-and-answer page excerpted from an interview in which Kush Arora discusses assault and domestic violence cases in Maryland.