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What makes an assault a misdemeanor or a felony?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2022 | Uncategorized

Being accused of a crime can be a terrifying experience. The outcome of your case can have an enormous impact on your life and on that of your family. If someone is alleging that you assaulted them, it is important to understand how Maryland law treats different types of assault.

Assault in the first degree

This is the most serious form of assault and is always considered a felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Assault in the first degree can be committed in one of two ways – the first of which is by committing any type of assault while using a firearm. If a firearm is used, it doesn’t matter that little to no actual injury was caused during the assault – it is the use of a firearm that elevates it to felony conduct.

The other way assault in the first degree can be committed is by intentionally causing, or attempting to cause, serious physical injury to another person. An injury is considered serious when it creates a substantial risk of death or causes long-term disfigurement or bodily impairment – such as to an organ or limb.

Assault in the second degree

There are also two different ways to commit assault in the second degree. If someone intentionally causes an injury (not necessarily a serious injury) to a law enforcement officer or other first responder, while they are engaged in their duties, they can be convicted of assault in the second degree.

However, they must know or have reason to know that the person was a member of law enforcement or was a first responder. Although it is a second-degree assault, this version is also punished as a felony.

The least-serious version of assault is a misdemeanor and encompasses those assaults where the injury was relatively minor, a firearm was not used and the person assaulted was not a law enforcement officer or first responder. Although it is less likely, even a misdemeanor conviction can result in being sentenced to prison.