Annapolis Criminal Assault Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with assault in the state of Maryland, you are facing serious charges with serious consequences. There are a number of different types of assault in the state, so it is important to know exactly what you are facing. First-degree assault is a felony offense that can result in up to 25 years in prison, while lesser assault charges have lesser—yet still serious—consequences. Rather than face Maryland assault charges on your own, consider contacting Scott MacMullan Law, LLC.
Attorney Scott MacMullan brings experience, knowledge, and a specific skillset to the table, combined with a passion for helping people like you who have made a mistake and do not want that mistake to alter the remainder of their lives. Scott MacMullan will provide a zealous defense on your behalf, carefully analyzing all the facts and evidence related to your charges, then finding your defense.
What are the Different Types of Assault in the State of Maryland?
Many states separate the offenses of assault and battery, with assault referring to threats of harm or attempts to cause physical harm, and batter referring to actual physical harm. The state of Maryland, however, combines the two into a single offense, with different penalties for different “levels” of assault. Under Maryland law, common assault, also known as second-degree or simple assault, involves threats of actual, offensive physical contact or actual, offensive physical contact.
Offensive physical contact is defined as anything that a reasonable person would find offensive. First-degree assault involves threats of actual, serious, physical injury, or actual, serious, physical injury. Serious physical injury is any injury that creates a significant risk of death or any injury which causes permanent or protracted serious disfigurement or impairment or loss of organs or body parts.
Second-degree or simple assault is usually a misdemeanor unless the offense is perpetrated against a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, a parole officer, or other civil servants, in which case, it becomes a felony. The degree of assault can also be predicated on whether the perpetrator is an inmate, and whether a weapon is used in the commission of the crime.
Maryland law also recognizes a crime known as reckless endangerment, which involves any reckless conduct that creates a significant risk of death or serious injury to another person. The statute does not apply to a motor vehicle and does not apply to the sale or manufacture of any product. As an example, reckless endangerment could be charged when a loaded gun is left in an area of the home where a child could find it.
What are the Penalties for the Different Types of Assault in the State of Maryland?
Following are the punishments and penalties for the various types of assault in the state of Maryland:
- First-degree assault is a felony under the Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-202 and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
- Second-degree or Simple Assault is a misdemeanor under Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-203 and is punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine as large as $2,500. If the victim of a simple assault is a police officer, correctional officer, parole officer, probation officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, rescue squad member or any other first responder engaged in providing rescue or emergency medical services, second-degree assault becomes a felony and is punishable by up to ten years in prison or a fine as large as $5,000—or both.
- Assault by an Inmate falls under Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-205 and is punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
- Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine as large as $5,000 under Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-204.
What are the Most Common Defenses for Assault Charges?
While the specific defense to your charges of assault will depend on the circumstances and facts surrounding those charges, there are some common defenses for the crime of assault, including:
- Defense of property—You could be able to claim that you were acting in defense of your own property, which was being invaded or illegally withheld. You are generally allowed to use reasonable force in defense of your property, especially when your home is involved. If there is a dispute over personal property, you generally may not use force to retrieve the property, however, in the case of a purse-snatcher or pick-pocket situation, you are allowed to use reasonable force to retrieve your property.
- Consent—Consent could be available as a defense to assault in very limited situations. If the alleged victim voluntarily consented to a particular act, then assault may not be proven. However, if the extent of the act consented to exceeds the permission provided, there may be grounds for charges of assault. In most cases, a court will closely scrutinize the defense of consent to assault, usually finding that a harmful action, even if consented to, should nonetheless be punished under assault laws.
- Actual innocence/mistaken identity—You may be entirely innocent of the assault charges leveled against you, in which case your attorney will show the victim identified the wrong person. This could occur in a situation where there are lots of people in an area, say at a concert, or a nightclub, and a fight breaks out. A person injured in the brawl could easily misidentify his or her attacker in the brawl.
- Self–defense—Self-defense is probably the most common defense used in assault cases. To back up a claim of self-defense, you must show there was a threat of unlawful force or harm against you, that you had a reasonable perceived fear of harm, that you offered no harm or provocation, and that you were unable to retreat or escape the situation. The doctrine of self-defense does have its limitations, primarily that you must not have responded with more force than was warranted—in other words, the force you used in self-defense must be considered reasonable when compared to the threat posed by the “victim.”
- Defense of others—Like self-defense, you must have had a reasonable, real perceived fear of harm to another person, and you must not have used more force than necessary.
- Lack of intent—Lack of intent could be a defense to assault in certain instances, but if you inflict harm on another person or make a threat of harm, it is generally inferred that you intended to harm.
How Can Scott MacMullan Law, LLC, Help You with Your Maryland Assault Charges?
If you have been charged with assault in the state of Maryland, do not leave your future to chance—contact Attorney Scott MacMullan today for a highly experienced, knowledgeable, skilled defense. Scott will work hard to minimize the consequences of your Maryland assault charges. Scott understands the position you are in and truly cares about your future. Attorney Scott MacMullan will aggressively defend your rights at every turn, looking at the charges against you from every possible angle in order to ensure you receive the defense you deserve. Contact Scott MacMullan Law, LLC, today by calling (443) 494-9775 or email [email protected] for a free case assessment.