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Assault

When someone threatens to use or does use force against another to cause harm, it is considered assault under Criminal Law. Aggravated assault typically occurs when a person causes serious injury to another or uses a deadly weapon. If you are being investigated for assault, you face serious consequences that may result in a loss of your freedom, exorbitant fines, and a mark on your criminal record that can affect your ability to obtain employment or housing in the future.

Maryland recognizes both felony and misdemeanor assault. If you commit aggravated assault with a firearm, you face a felony charge of assault in the first degree. A firearm may be anything from an antique handgun or rifle to a machine gun or assault rifle. Felony assault in the second degree occurs when a person intentionally threatens to use or uses physical force to cause bodily harm to a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his or her official duties. Misdemeanor assault in the second degree is defined as threatening to use or using physical force to cause bodily harm to another. In addition, you may be charged with reckless endangerment if you engage in conduct that creates a substantial risk of bodily injury or death to another or discharge a firearm from a moving vehicle, thereby creating a substantial risk of bodily injury or death to another. If more than one person is endangered by your reckless conduct, the state may charge you with a separate count of reckless endangerment for each individual you placed at risk of injury or death. The following table outlines the potential maximum fines and jail sentences for assault charges:

Crimes
Associated Conduct
Type of Charge
Maximum Fine
Maximum Prison Sentence
1st Degree Assault

With a firearm or with intent to cause serious physical injury*

Felony
N/A
25 years
2nd Degree Assault on Law Officer
Intent to cause physical injury**
Felony
$5,000
10 years
2nd Degree Assault
Intent to cause physical injury
Misdemeanor
$2,500
10 years
Reckless Endangerment

Conduct that creates substantial risk of serious physical injury or death

Misdemeanor
$5,000
5 years

 

 * Serious physical injury may include causing a substantial risk of death, permanent or protracted disfigurement, or long-term loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.

** Physical injury is defined as “any impairment of physical condition including minor injuries.”

In addition, an assault or reckless endangerment conviction may have other lasting negative consequences in your life. For example, both felony and misdemeanor assaults will appear on your criminal record for years into the future. Thus, any potential employer or landlord who runs a background check may take these convictions into consideration when you apply for a job or apartment after your conviction. Certain convictions for violent crimes will also result in a loss of the right to own and/or possess a firearm.