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How Are Assault Charges Defined in Maryland?

The Law Office Phillips & Allen PA Nov. 19, 2022

An assault is as simple as an unwanted touching in the state of Maryland and generally across the board in many states. Maryland used to have common law definitions that were raised by the court, but around 2002, assaults actually became statutory offenses. So there is assault in the first and second degrees. First degree, of course, is more serious while the second degree can be very minor, up to a good fist fight.

Are There Different Levels Or Charges Of Assault?

Yes. There is first-degree and second-degree assault, and there are also other levels of assault, such as sexual assault, assault by an inmate, assault by poisoning and assault by motor vehicle. Those are all codes of the different statutes under Maryland law.

How Is An Assault Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?

Simple assault is a misdemeanor while felony assault is a first-degree assault, and that is basically where a person is intentionally causing serious injury to another or using a firearm, such as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, machine gun or any regulated weapon. If you get charged with an assault in the first degree, that is a felony charge. The maximum penalty for that is imprisonment not exceeding 25 years.

Does An Alleged Victim Need To Be Injured For Assault Charges To Be Made?

There is no injury necessary for an assault; it’s an assault in the second degree, and basically, if there is serious physical injury, that can rack up the penalties.

What Factors Can Enhance Or Aggravate An Assault Charge?

To get from a second-degree assault to a first-degree assault, first, there must be a serious physical injury to another. If you put somebody in the hospital, that’s a serious injury, and you can be charged with a felony for that. Anything that involves a firearm will be considered a first-degree assault.

What Is Assault With A Deadly Weapon?

Assault with a deadly weapon is a first-degree assault, and that can be any type of action with a weapon that essentially touches another person. If you point a rifle or a shotgun at somebody as a threat that would more support a charge of reckless endangerment. If you actually do shoot somebody or hit somebody with a lead pipe or deadly weapon, that’s going to rise to the level of a first-degree assault.

Does The Intent Of The Alleged Perpetrator Affect An Assault Charge?

The intent of a person can affect an assault charge. A basic assault is unwanted touching, and that could happen where somebody touches, for instance, the breast of a female. That unwanted touching could occur if you’re in a crowd of thousands of people, and you didn’t really intend to touch someone. In this instance, you do have the means to be found not guilty of that charge. With every criminal charge or almost every criminal charge, the intent is a factor. The intent of the person to cause harm is the basic framework as far as an assault is concerned. If somebody accidentally touches somebody or does something without meaning or has a very, very good reason for their hands being in a certain place that is a defense to an assault.

Does The Degree Of Injury Suffered By The Victim Affect An Assault Charge?

It definitely can. If it is determined that a person had intended to cause serious physical injury, that can escalate what would normally be a second-degree assault into a first-degree assault. In some cases, it’s not even as much intentional as wanting to cause the harm. If you intentionally punch somebody hard and you end up hitting them in the temple and causing a brain injury, a minor assault could turn into a major one.

What Mistakes Do People Make In Assault Cases?

The first thing that can hurt them is not having an attorney before they talk to the police. Very often, criminals find themselves in a position where the state has a difficult time proving the case, yet they talk to the police and admit what they did, which can be the best evidence that a court of law can have to convict them.

For more information on Assault Charges In Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking talk Arnold F. Phillips by calling today.