College Park Assault Lawyer
Assault is a criminal offense that covers a wide range of behaviors, including situations in which no physical contact or injury results. Threats of committing harm may be sufficient to support an assault conviction in some circumstances. As the assault law is so broad, contacting a College Park assault lawyer when you are facing any assault charges may be a useful step in your defense.
An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to investigate the circumstances that led to the charges, determine the weight of the evidence supporting the charges, and devise the strongest defense strategy in your case. Taking the time to get the legal assistance that you may need can be crucial to your ability to defend yourself.
Legal Definition of Assault
In some states, legislators have established assault and battery as separate crimes. Assault generally refers to making threats of imminent harm, whereas battery refers to initiating harmful physical contact. In the state of Maryland, however, the legislature chose to combine the traditional legal concepts of assault and battery into a single criminal offense.
Pursuant to Md. Code, Crim. Law § 3-201, individuals may face charges either for merely threatening or attempting to commit physical harm to others or for actually having potentially harmful physical contact with others.
Types of Assault Offenses
Assault is classified as first or second-degree assault, depending on the circumstances. First-degree assault is a more severe offense with greater penalties, whereas second-degree assault is less serious.
First Degree Assault
First-degree assault may occur when individuals intentionally make threats toward, attempt, or cause serious physical injury to others. The statute also makes it illegal to commit assault with any type of firearm. Serious physical injury includes any type of physical injury that:
- Creates a substantial risk of death
- Causes permanent or protracted serious disfigurement or the loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ
Second Degree Assault
Under § 3-203, misdemeanor second-degree assault may occur when individuals either threaten or have physical contact with others who would reasonably view that contact as offensive. The statute goes on to define felony second-degree assault, which involves intentionally causing physical injury, or any impairment of physical condition, to individuals who fall within certain classifications, such as:
- Police officers
- Correctional, probation, or parole officers
- Firefighters and emergency medical technicians
- Other first responders acting in the course of their official duties
For this type of action to constitute felony second-degree assault, the individuals causing the injury must know or should have reason to know that the subjects fall into one of the above categories.
Potential Consequences for an Assault Conviction
First-degree assault is always a felony offense, whereas second-degree assault can be a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the circumstances surrounding the assault.
Felony offenses tend to have more severe punishments than misdemeanor offenses, but other factors also can affect the sentences that individuals convicted of assault receive.
Individuals charged with first-degree assault may face a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years. A felony conviction also can result in the loss of certain rights, such as the right to possess a firearm, vote, and work in certain occupations. Since the penalties may be so serious when individuals are facing first-degree assault charges, consulting with a College Park assault attorney prior to making any decisions may be beneficial.
Whether charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, a second-degree assault conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years. The only difference is that a sentence for a misdemeanor can result in a fine of up to $2,500, whereas a sentence for a felony can result in a fine of up to $5,000.
Let a College Park Assault Attorney Assist You
A conviction for assault, which the general public may view as a crime involving violence, can be detrimental to you, your family, and your future. Whether charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, an assault conviction can cause prospective employers and landlords to turn you away in favor of individuals without convictions. For these reasons, getting advice from a College Park assault lawyer could be helpful to you.
Aside from the stigma of an assault conviction, you also can face serious prison time, which can cause you to lose your job, important relationships, and your freedom. Working with a College Park criminal defense attorney may help minimize the potential penalties to which these charges expose you.