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If you’re facing Maryland assault charges, it’s important to have a criminal defense attorney by your side. A thorough understanding of the law related to physical injury and interpersonal conflict could make the difference between exoneration and prison time.
Implications of assault charges in Maryland can be either a misdemeanor or felony, and convictions carry serious penalties. An experienced Maryland aggravated assault attorney could work to minimize your consequences.
While many states differentiate between assault and battery, Maryland criminal law includes both in one crime. A threat of violence or offensive contact with another person’s body can be considered assault. In contrast, battery requires physical contact with the victim’s body to cause harm or offense. For example, spitting at someone can constitute battery if the defendant knew or should have known that it would cause apprehension and/or offense in the victim.
A violation of assault in the first degree can carry up to 25 years in jail. A conviction also may result in a number of collateral consequences, including barriers to certain types of employment and a loss of the right to possess a firearm.
Aggravated assault involves the intent to cause significant bodily injury or permanent disfigurement, including but not limited to a broken nose, acid burns over 80% of the body, or any other serious physical damage. It can also be elevated to first degree assault if the attacker has a weapon or commits a violent attack against a police officer, probation officer, parole agent or firefighter engaged in their official duties.
The penalties for assault vary depending on the degree of the offense. First-degree assault, for example, is a felony, and can result in up to 25 years of prison time. A conviction for assault in the second degree, a misdemeanor, can lead to up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
A criminal defense lawyer that is familiar with Maryland assault laws can use various strategies to help you defend against a charge for this offense. It may be possible to get the charges reduced if you can show that the offensive contact was done in self-defense or was not intentional.
It is also important to note that it must be shown that you caused serious physical injury in order for prosecutors to secure a conviction on this charge. However, there is no need for the prosecution to prove that you intended to cause serious injury to another person. It is enough that you acted in a way that made the victim believe you were trying to cause them harm.
There are several different defenses available to the accused in an assault case. A skilled Maryland assault lawyer will work to create a robust defense to the charges, utilizing all legal resources at their disposal. Assault in the first degree can be a felony and result in years of jail time, and it is important to have a criminal attorney who has an in-depth understanding of all the possible repercussions.
In cases where the alleged victim claims that they suffered serious physical injury, such as loss of a limb or disfigurement, expert testimony may be necessary to prove these allegations. This evidence can be extremely helpful in securing an acquittal or lesser sentence for the accused.
For second-degree assault, the state must prove that the defendant caused offensive and unwanted contact, that they made the alleged victim fear harmful and offensive contact, or that they made the alleged victim believe that they were going to be touched or harmed. An experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney will use their in-depth knowledge of assault laws and prosecutorial strategies to fight these accusations.
A criminal defense lawyer could help someone accused of assault build a strong case for a dismissal. They could also help a person understand the collateral consequences of a conviction such as barriers to employment or a ban on possessing weapons.
It is important to note that a person does not have to cause physical harm to be charged with assault in Maryland. A person can be convicted of second degree assault if they knowingly put another in immediate apprehension of unconsented physical contact. For example, if someone holds up their fist to mimic striking another person, that can be considered assault in the second degree.
Even a misdemeanor assault charge in Maryland could be a serious problem for someone’s career or reputation. Assault charges are a matter of public record, and employers, co-workers, and others might find out about the incident. Therefore, anyone who has been charged with this crime should consider retaining an experienced Maryland assault attorney.