Altercations between individuals can result in injuries and criminal charges. When a person is accused of inflicting physical harm on another person, they may be charged with assault. In Maryland, assault charges can be misdemeanors or felonies.
It is critical that a person charged with an assault crime understands the specific elements of their particular alleged crime. For this reason, it can be extremely helpful for an assault defendant to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to help them with their case. This informational post will generally discuss the differences between assault charges in Maryland, but no part of this post should be read as specific legal advice.
An assault happens when a person puts another in fear of bodily injury or subjects them to offensive or harmful touching. A range of conduct can be considered assault, and because some alleged actions may be more harmful than others, the law recognizes different levels of assault charges. Misdemeanor assault charges, called second-degree assault in Maryland, may be charged when a person commits an assault without aggravating circumstances. Convictions for misdemeanor assaults can result in imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines in excess of $2,000.
Felony charges may also be filed against individuals who are accused of committing serious assault crimes. Known as first-degree assault in Maryland, these charges are reserved for cases with alleged aggravating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances can include the use of weapons such as firearms, or actions that result in allegedly severe injuries. Felony charges often result in longer prison sentences and more serious sanctions against those accused.
Assault charges of all types should be taken seriously, and defendants should prepare to face their charges with strong defense strategies. Criminal defense attorneys can work with their clients to tailor defense options to their specific cases and the factual circumstances which gave rise to their clients’ arrests. The criminal justice system can be a difficult entity to work with, but knowledgeable lawyers can provide their criminal defense clients with support, guidance, and advocacy.