The state of Maryland has various different assault charges, which range from misdemeanors to felonies. These charges cover a wide variety of conduct. Assault in Maryland is defined as the offensive touching or attempted touching of another person without their consent or placing that person in immediate fear of an intentional touching against their consent.
It is considered assault when a person:
- commits battery
- Tries to commit battery
- Makes another person afraid of potential battery
According to the law, a person who tries to commit assault and fails is viewed with the same level of culpability as if he/she had successfully committed the crime. This means that an attempted first-degree assault can also be punishable by up to 25 years in jail.
An assault charge must include an intent element. This means that it’s not enough to prove only that a person actually did cause severe physical injury to another person. The district attorney (DA) must also prove that the offender intended to do so. An experienced lawyer can try to mitigate the evidence and cause responsible doubt in the minds of the jury as to whether the defendant actually intended to do what he/she did.
The state of Maryland does not allow an offender to expunge a conviction of a felony. Some charges can only be deleted from an offender’s record under certain circumstances, and a first-degree assault conviction is not one of them. Because of this reason, it is very important for a person to hire a well trained and experienced lawyer to manage this case carefully.
Assault on a police officer in the state of Maryland carries an enhanced penalty which differs from a standard second-degree assault of a person who is not a police officer. Assault on a police officer in Maryland is considered as a felony. Whereas an assault on a person that is not a police officer is classified as a misdemeanor.
If a person is convicted of second-degree assault on a police officer in Maryland, he/she could be facing up to ten years in jail or a fine that can reach up to $5,000, or both. A regular second-degree assault on a person who is not a law enforcement officer is only classified as a misdemeanor and the penalty for that crime is ten years in jail or a fine that can reach up to $2,500, or both.
Possible defenses that could be used if relevant to the case:
Self-defense is an accepted defense against an assault charge if the person was attacked and only acted to protect himself or herself.
With an affirmative defense, a person admits to committing the assault. It maintains that the person assaulted someone in an attempt to prevent being hurt or someone else. It can also be applied if a person was required to use physical force to prevent someone from committing a criminal act.
The mistaken identity defense can only be used when it is unclear who was involved in the assault case. This defense is mostly used in public situations such as bar fights.