What Are the Potential Defenses Used in Assault Cases?
Nov. 20, 2022
There are several defenses that are out there. There is one defense that people don’t very often realize in any type of domestic assault, which is the spousal waiver. A spousal waiver is where a spouse is injured by an assault then goes into court and says, “I do not want to testify against my husband.” It’s probably one of the more common defenses used in domestic assault situations. Things get heated, police are called, somebody gets hit or touched, somebody gets arrested, and then when it goes to court, the complainant realizes that a conviction jeopardizes the whole family much more than the punishment merits.
A lot of times these cases involve a husband and wife who end up getting divorced or going to counseling to take care of the issues that caused the assault in the first place. But for at least one time, a spousal defense is one of the best defenses that you can have in an assault case. Once a spouse goes on the record and uses that right, they’re basically forbidden from using it in the future. So it is really a one-shot defense. Other defenses in an assault can range from the evidence that was not taken properly, which can be excluded from the case to finding an alternate theory as to what actually happened.
Most assaults involve a couple of people and not many witnesses, so good cross-examination of a victim in an assault case sometimes can get a not guilty verdict. Also, prosecutors will be a little more lenient if you can get your client into counseling or find some good attributes of your client that can be used to help their defense.
What Are The Potential Penalties Associated With An Assault Conviction?
When we look at assault in the first degree, that is a felony and is going to carry with it all of the prohibitions that felonies carry. You’re not going to be able to possess firearms, your right to vote will be restricted, and you will most likely be on probation, so there will be some level of supervision in your life to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Assault in the first degree carries a penalty of up to 25 years. Assault in the second degree, which is the lesser of the two charges, has a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine not exceeding $2,500 or both.
Typically, when somebody goes in on a first assault, depending on its seriousness, they won’t get the maximum. In Maryland, judges have wide discretion on the penalties. There aren’t mandatory minimums for first- and second-degree assault, so a court could put you on probation, depending on the circumstances that got you the assault in the first place.
The seriousness of the fight and the parties involved will also affect the prosecution and what the judge will do to you. For example, a 40-year-old man assaulting a 15-year-old child will face much harsher consequences than a 40-year-old man assaulting another 40-year-old man.
What Are Some Collateral Consequences Of An Assault Conviction In Maryland?
Any time you are convicted of a crime in Maryland, that will put you on a Maryland judiciary case search. Your neighbors, your friends and your potential employers will all have information available to them as to what happened, and that can be very prejudicial against you. Police officers, especially in small communities, are generally aware of who has been arrested for what in the past, and their contacts with these individuals in the future are typically a little more investigative because when a police officer knows that somebody has broken the law before, they expect that they’re probably breaking the law again and are going to look for any facts that would support other charges.
People who are on probation have the possibility of probation officers coming to their house, so they will need to refrain from having firearms and committing any other crimes. If there is a large amount of backup time, which is the time that the judge would suspend the sentence, most likely you’re going to complete probation and eventually be released. However, if you don’t follow the terms of probation, you can expect the court to take you in and give you the suspended sentence back if not part or all of it.
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