Assault Charges in Annapolis
There are two types of assault crimes in Annapolis, Maryland. There is assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree. Assault in the first degree is a felony offense that could carry up to 25 years in prison. Assault in the second degree is a misdemeanor offense that could carry up to 10 years in prison. An Annapolis assault lawyer can help provide defense against either charge, and possibly get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Simple v. Aggravated Assault
Simple assault is misdemeanor assault or assault in the second degree, which is the unconsented touching of another person. It does not have to involve any kind of weapon, but it sometimes could.
Usually, misdemeanor assaults are considered more minor assaults where someone pushed, punched, or slapped another person, but there was no permanent physical injury, no risk of serious injury, or death.
Felony assault is far more serious. Usually weapons are involved or there is a risk of serious injury, permanent injury, or death to the party who was assaulted.
Penalties in Annapolis
Simple assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Aggravated assault or first degree assault carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail and may also carry a significant fine.
Defending These Charges
Assault charges have many different defenses; the most common is self-defense. That means that the person who is charged was not the initial aggressor in the fight, but acted in self-defense when they committed an assault against another person, therefore excusing their behavior. Also called mutual affray, it means they were assaulted by another person, but they were acting in a manner that was mutual on both sides. No one party was more responsible for the fight than the other party and both people mutually consented to be involved in that physical altercation.
Attorneys gather all kinds of evidence depending on the particular case. Evidence could include medical records or eye witness testimony that assists in demonstrating the actual occurrence that took place to the finder of fact, which is the judge or a jury. The attorney examines whether or not the state is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the client assaulted the other person, as alleged.
Challenging the Prosecution
Annapolis defense lawyers can challenge the prosecution’s case by bringing in their own witnesses who might have witnessed the events to prove to the prosecution that the account given by the other side is incorrect or incomplete. The assault lawyer may also bring in medical records of their client, which might show only his or her injuries as a result of the incident that might be more inclined to demonstrate self-defense or mutual affray arguments.
There may be surveillance video, photographic evidence, and other materials that might assist the prosecutor in determining the weaknesses in their own case and perhaps help them make a decision to reduce or dismiss the charges altogether.
Benefits of Experienced Annapolis Counsel
Experienced assault lawyers can identify the appropriate defenses available in a particular case to make sure that when a person is charged with assault; all avenues should be explored to identify the available defenses.
An attorney experienced with assault cases knows what defenses are more appropriate to be handled by a bench trial versus a jury trial for the best possible result in a courtroom.
The kinds of defenses available for assault cases are different than other kinds of criminal cases. That is because assault cases are crimes of violence and have their own special methodology when somebody is alleged to have committed an assault.