Maryland Assault Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with assault, you are likely wondering what you need to do, and who can help you obtain the right outcome. At Scott MacMullan Law, we understand what a difficult time this is for you. You may have lost your temper and done something you greatly regret, or perhaps you were simply defending yourself or a loved one. Whatever your situation, Attorney Scott MacMullan understands that good people make mistakes and that one mistake should not alter the course of your life forever. Scott will provide you with a zealous, highly skilled defense, with a goal of significantly minimizing the fallout—both legal and collateral—stemming from your first-degree assault charges.
What is a First-Degree Assault?
In the state of Maryland, crimes of domestic violence are governed by the same laws which apply to an assault which is committed against an individual who does not fall under those listed under the domestic violence codes. Criminal Code Section 3-202 deals with assault in the first degree in the state of Maryland and is defined as intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another person.
If an assault is committed with a handgun, regulated firearm, assault pistol, antique rifle, shotgun, rifle, or any other type of firearm, you could also be charged with first-degree assault. If the offense does not involve a firearm, there must be provable, serious physical injury to the victim. Testimony proving a serious injury exists could come from the medical professional who treated the alleged victim for the injuries.
What are the Penalties for First-Degree Assault in Maryland?
Under Maryland law, first-degree assault is a felony, carrying a maximum penalty of 25 years, as the offense is defined as a crime of violence. This means if you were sentenced to prison, you would be required to serve at least half of your sentence prior to becoming eligible for parole. A probationary period for a first-degree assault conviction in Maryland is likely; if convicted, you are likely to be required to serve at least a part of your prison sentence with the remainder of the sentence being suspended, and a period of probation.
If you have a prior criminal record, you may not be eligible for probation and could be required to serve your entire sentence. Further, if you are a repeat offender, you typically will receive more actual jail time than first-time offenders. A probationary period, while significantly better than remaining in prison, can curtail your freedom, nonetheless. If you are serving probation, you must remain in constant contact with your probation officer, and you may be unable to move or even cross a state line without asking for permission.
You will also be required to deal with a totally different perception from the public as a result of your conviction for first-degree assault; when an employer or a potential landlord looks at your record, they will make certain assumptions about you regarding your overall character or whether you are a violent person. Because of the stigma associated with a first-degree assault conviction, you could face a very adverse impact on your life in many different ways. In other words, the collateral consequences of a first-degree assault conviction can be extremely difficult for a very long time.
How is First-Degree Assault Proven?
The element of intent is present in the Maryland crime of first-degree assault. This means it is not sufficient to prove you caused serious physical injury to another person; the prosecution must also show you intended to cause serious physical injury. That being said, the law also presumes you intended the natural consequences of your actions, therefore, it must only be shown that you intended to act in the way you acted, and those actions resulted in injury. Further, it is not necessary that the prosecutor prove malice or ill-will toward the victim on your part, or that you wished to cause a specific injury. Your experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney will want to establish reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury as to whether you actually intended to do what you did, or if it was done in reaction to something the victim did or in the heat of the moment.
What Evidence is Used in Maryland Assault Cases?
Assault cases rarely come with an easy-to-read paper trail, rather are more likely to be “he said, she said” situations, sometimes with witnesses. If there was a 911 call, your Maryland criminal defense attorney could benefit from listening to the call, as well as reviewing any available video surveillance. In some instances, a 911 call can be very “telling.” Emergency calls usually capture and record frantic moments during and/or following the incident. Either the alleged victim or the accused may have said things on the 911 call, which can be used at trial. There may be property damage that accompanies an assault due to the very nature of assault. As an example, a struggle in the living room is likely to result in broken furniture or walls.
Of course, the prosecutor considers the primary “evidence” to be the testimony from the alleged victim. There may also be medical records that support the severity of the injuries or medical expenses associated with those injuries. In short, the prosecution is attempting to show you committed harmful or offensive contact against him or her with the intention of inflicting harm, and that the contact was unprovoked. Your Maryland criminal defense attorney will attempt to show the exact opposite—either that you committed no harmful or offensive contact against the alleged victim or that you had a solid reason for doing so, whether you were provoked, or were engaging in self-defense.
What are the Defenses to First Degree Assault in Maryland?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to provide a solid defense against charges of first-degree assault, however, it can be done when you have a highly experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney by your side. Perhaps you responded to an attack by defending yourself. If you were simply engaging in self-defense, ending up getting the upper hand against the other person, you did not commit assault, under Maryland law. Or, perhaps, you simply did not commit the offense you are being charged with. The alleged victim may be fabricating the assault either as a method of harassment or abuse against you or out of anger or retaliation (perhaps associated with a divorce or child custody case).
How Can a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
If you have been charged with first-degree assault in the state of Maryland, you must take these charges very seriously. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney like Scott MacMullan as soon as possible after you have been charged can truly alter the outcome of your assault charges. Attorney Scott MacMullan has worked for two of the preeminent judges in Maryland, which helps him obtain efficient resolutions at the Courthouse.
Scott offers his clients something few other firms can offer—24/7 365 days a year access to your case file via a secured client portal. Scott returns your phone calls quickly, believing communication with clients and responsiveness to his clients is the number one priority. Call (443) 494-9775 or email [email protected] for a free case assessment—Scott MacMullan Law offers “Local Knowledge You Can Trust.”