Being charged with assault in Maryland can be emotionally, socially, professionally and financially devastating. For many individuals, what begins as an unnecessary verbal conflict quickly escalates out of control, resulting in a physical altercation and subsequent charges of assault. The penalties associated with both first- and second-degree assault are extremely serious, and one errant swing at another individual could impact your life for years to come. Some assault charges are completely frivolous, resulting in a lengthy legal process and undue penalties for innocent defendants.
An assault charge in Maryland can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony, as described in Subtitle 2 of Title 3 in the Maryland criminal code. With the help of a qualified Maryland assault lawyer like Mr. Edward Tayter who will examine every intricate detail of your case in order to build a strong defense, you can fight for the best possible outcome for your case in court whether it’s a reduction of the associated penalties or a dismissal of the case entirely.
Maryland state code § 3-202 defines first-degree assault as causing serious physical injury to another person. To clarify, state code § 3-201 defines “serious physical injury” as creating a significant risk of death or protracted or permanent disfigurement. It can also include delivering an injury to another individual that results in the impairment or loss of a bodily function. Further, any assault that includes the involvement of a firearm, regardless of the severity of the resulting injury, can be defined and prosecuted as first-degree assault in Maryland. State code § 3-202 defines a firearm as a shotgun, short-barreled shotgun, rifle, short-barreled rifle, handgun, antique firearm, machine gun, assault pistol or regulated firearm.
If you’re convicted of first-degree assault in Maryland, you could face a prison sentence of up to 25 years along with probation, driving restrictions, mandated community service, restraining orders, house arrest, and more. A felony conviction will also make future employment and the obtainment of housing extremely difficult. An experienced Maryland assault attorney will look at each detail of your case and use every available legal resource in order to create the strongest possible defense. Although this won’t necessarily spare you from conviction, it could certainly dramatically reduce your incarceration term along with the other associated penalties.
Maryland state code § 3-203 covers second-degree assault in Maryland, which is legally defined as causing any type of physical injury to another individual. It can also be defined as causing a physical impairment to another individual, with the specifics open to interpretation by the courts.
State code § 3-203(b) defines the penalties associated with second-degree assault as a fine of up to $2,500 and no more than 10 years of incarceration. Normally a misdemeanor conviction, the penalties are stiffer if second-degree assault is committed against a law enforcement officer, including parole and probation officers. According to state code § 3-203(3), those penalties can include a felony conviction, a $5,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
A licensed, reputable Maryland assault lawyer will consider second-degree assault charges with equal seriousness as first-degree assault charges. The possibility of spending up to 10 years in incarceration is not to be taken lightly, which is why you need and deserve the best legal defense available.
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Maryland state code § 3-208 defines the requirements for evidence of “serious physical injury,” which is needed in order for a first-degree assault conviction. According to this state code, expert testimony is admissible in court in order to prove that the plaintiff has sustained a serious physical injury. In most cases, this expert testimony would come from a doctor or some other medical professional who examined the injuries of the plaintiff following the alleged assault. However, this very same state code states that expert testimony is not required to validate a serious physical injury. This means that a plaintiff could seek a first-degree assault charge against you even if an expert is not willing or able to testify against you or if no such expert testimony is available.
Instances such as these are why it’s so important to have the assistance of an experienced Maryland assault defense lawyer who will work directly with prosecution and law enforcement officers in order to build a strong legal defense based on the exact facts of your case. The help of a qualified attorney will maximize your chances of having the most favorable outcome when your court date actually arrives.