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Maryland Assault Laws
In the state of Maryland, assault is defined as the common law crime of assault, battery, and assault & battery. Sections 3-201(b). Assault is broken down in two degrees, with first degree assault being a felony and second degree assault being either a misdemeanor or a felony (depending on whether the perpetrator assaulted a law enforcement officer or not). Sections 3-202(b); 3-203(b). If you have been charged with any kind of assault in Maryland, you should contact a Maryland assault lawyer today or read how a lawyer can help.
“Serious physical injury” is mentioned numerous times in the laws about assault and in the explanations below. It is defined in Sections 3-201(d) as any physical injury that:
- Is so serious that it puts the victim at substantial risk of death, or
- Causes permanent or serious, lingering
- Impaired function of any body part, or
- Loss of function in any body part.
Assault in the First Degree: Sections 3-202
There are two forms of assault in the first degree: one regarding causing (or attempting to cause) serious physical injury, and the other being assault with a firearm.
A person is guilty of first degree assault if the individual (1) intentionally (2) causes or attempts to cause (3) serious physical injury to another person. Sections 3-202(a)(1). A person is also guilty of first degree assault if the individual (1) commits an assault (2) with a firearm of any kind. Sections 3-202(a)(2).
This includes actions that fall under the common law crime of assault where a perpetrator creates an apprehension of imminent harmful contact in the mind of the victim, even if the perpetrator never actually touches or harms the victim (see common law definition of assault here). If an individual is guilty of assault in the first degree, then the individual faces a felony conviction with up to 25 years in prison. Sections 3-202(b).
Assault in the Second Degree Sections 3-203
Assault in the second degree covers every other form of assault that does not fall under first degree assault. Specifically, this means any assault not committed with a firearm, and any assault where the perpetrator does not intentionally cause (or attempt to cause) serious physical injury to the victim. Thus, an individual is guilty of assault in the second degree if the individual commits common law assault, battery, or assault and battery so long as there is neither firearm involved nor any intent to cause serious physical injury. This includes (see common law definitions for assault and battery):
- Intentional acts by a perpetrator that create an apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact in the mind of the victim,
- Intentional acts by the perpetrator that cause harmful or offensive contact with the victim, without the victim’s consent, and;
- Any combination of the two.
If an individual is guilty of assault in the second degree, the guilty party faces conviction of a misdemeanor with up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Sections 3-203(b).
Assault on a Police Officer (APO)
However, there is also a felony version of assault in the second degree. Sections 3-203(c). For a person to be guilty of second degree assault as a felony, the perpetrator must (1) intentionally (2) physically injure (3) an individual the perpetrator knows or has reason to know is:
- A law enforcement officer performing his or her official duties, or
- A probation or parole agent performing his or her official duties.
The physical injury requirement includes any injury that impairs the victim’s physical condition except for the most minor of injuries. Sections 3-203(c)(1). Furthermore, the requirement that the victim is a law enforcement officer also includes victims who are correctional officers or officers working for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metro Transit Police. Sections 3-201(c)(2). If an individual is guilty of second degree assault on a law enforcement officer as described above, the guilty party faces penalties including a felony conviction, up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Sections 3-203(c)(3).
How a Maryland Assault Lawyer Can Help
To be convicted of assault, the government must prove the various elements of these crimes. If you have been charged with assault, it is important that you contact a Maryland assault lawyer who can help explain how the law applies to the facts of your case. Your lawyer will also work to build a strong defense and counter the evidence presented by the government in Court.