Maryland Assault Lawyer
Two general types of assault exist in Maryland under Sections 3-202 and 3-203 of the Criminal Code. Section 3-202 is the more serious of the two, and covers mainly 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 10 years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.
If you are facing charges of assault or domestic violence, it is best to find a Maryland criminal defense lawyer who can help you prepare a strong defense. A free initial consultation with a Maryland assault lawyer could help you determine whether winning or pleading down felony charges is possible in your particular 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 ten years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine, detailed under Section 3-203(c)(2).
Maryland Assault Laws
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, machine guns, regulated firearms and shotguns. Assault with a deadly weapon is nearly always charged as assault in the first degree.
How Serious is a First-Degree Assault Charge?
First-degree assault is a very serious charge in Maryland, carrying a possible penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment. To be charged with first degree assault, the state must prove that the crime meets all elements of second-degree assault and was committed with a weapon, 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 experienced Maryland assault lawyer can help you understand your charges and how best to approach them.
What is Second-Degree Assault?
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 assault lawyer can help you fight. The maximum penalty for second-degree assault is ten years imprisonment. Under Section 3-203, any unwanted physical contact can be considered assault, even if it does not 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.
Assault 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, probation agent or parole officer. Felony charges typically only result if the alleged victim was engaged in the performance of their 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, including a law enforcement officer, is guilty of a felony, punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding $5,000.
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. When looking for a Maryland attorney, it is best to find a legal advocate who has handled assault cases before and knows how to navigate the state court system.
Maryland Reckless Endangerment
According to Section 3-204 of the criminal code, reckless endangerment is illegal. This section states that a person may not:
- 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
- Recklessly engage in any conduct that establishes a substantial 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 including an attempted carjacking.
Domestic Violence and Assault
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 that fall 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 assault 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 ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Subsequent offenses can increase the maximum jail time to one year and increase the fine to a possible $2,500.
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 fine for first-time offenders. Subsequent offenses carry a maximum potential penalty of one-year imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.