Maryland Assault on an Officer Lawyer
Assaults on law enforcement also occur when an officer, firefighter, or first responder is attempting to render aid on the street during an ongoing threat, and the officer or first responders are targeted. In Maryland, these types of assaults occur most commonly during protests or other large gatherings that erupt in violence. If you find yourself facing charges of assault on an officer in Maryland, it is important to reach out to an experienced assault attorney as soon as possible.
Burden of Proof
In order to achieve a guilty verdict, the prosecution must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, that the defendant must have known, or had reason to know, that the victim was a law enforcement officer engaged in their official duties. If the defendant claims they did not know, but the court finds he or she had reason to know, a guilty conviction is still a possibility.
However, if the accuser is an undercover police officer who was not wearing a uniform at the time and did not seem to be acting in any way that would suggest that they are a police officer, it would be harder for the court to convict the defendant.
In most cases, whether the defendant had reason to know is easy to ascertain. This is because when working in their official capacity, first responders usually wear some type of uniform that identifies them and their professional role. If the state has evidence that the victim was in uniform, they are in a good position to prove that the defendant is guilty of assaulting a law enforcement officer or first responder.
As for the second element, in order to be convicted of assault on a law enforcement officer, the prosecution would have to show that the defendant intentionally caused physical injury, and that at the time, the recipient was some type of first responder who was engaged in the performance of their official duty, such as:
- A law enforcement officer
- A probation unit
- A parole agent
- A paramedic
- A firefighter
Severity of the Charge
Assault on a first responder or law enforcement officer is a felony in Maryland, but in order for it to be considered an assault on law enforcement officer, it has to be something more than just a minor injury. A minor injury can be something that just requires basic first aid, whereas a more serious injury might result in the officer losing consciousness or needing serious medical treatment.
Any sort of injury that causes a law enforcement officer or first responder to no longer be able to continue their line of work will likely constitute a violation of this law, and the accused person may find themselves convicted of a felony.
How An Attorney Can Help
Assaulting an officer in Maryland is a charge that the state takes very seriously. The court is inclined to discourage it, and the prosecutor is intent on convicting the accused. Therefore, it can be extremely helpful to have an experienced Maryland assault lawyer by your side as you face your accusers in court. A good attorney will be able to guide and advise you throughout the legal process, helping you determine the best course of action each step of the way.