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Second Degree Assult In Maryland: What is it?

Hand of man with clenched fist

In Maryland, second-degree assault is defined as intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical injury to another person. This charge is codified under Maryland Criminal Law 3-203 and is the lesser of the two assault crimes, the first being “first-degree assault.”

Is Second-Degree Assult A Felony In Maryland?

No, Second-degree assault is not a felony in Maryland. Second-degree assault is classified as a misdemeanor in Maryland, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. However, this is the maximum penalty, and for first offenders, it is extremely rare to see the maximum penalty applied in cases revolving around second-degree assault. 

What Are Examples of Second Degree Assault?

Second-degree assault is a criminal offense involving intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury to another person. It is typically a less severe offense than first-degree assault, which involves the intentional use of a deadly weapon or the intent to cause serious bodily harm.

Examples of second-degree assault may include:

  1. Punching or striking someone with a closed fist or another object, resulting in bruises, cuts, or other injuries.
  1. Kicking or shoving someone, causing them to fall and sustain injuries.
  1. Throwing an object at someone, causing injury.
  1. Driving a vehicle in a reckless or aggressive manner, which could result in injury to pedestrians or other drivers.
  1. Using a weapon in a way that is likely to cause injury, such as swinging a baseball bat at someone or brandishing a knife.

It’s important to note that the specific elements of second-degree assault may vary depending on the laws of the jurisdiction in which the offense is committed. In some cases, the use of a deadly weapon or the intent to cause serious bodily harm may be required in order to be charged with second-degree assault.

How Can I Be Charged With Second-Degree Assault?

To be charged with second-degree assault, the prosecution must prove that the defendant acted to cause physical injury to the victim and that the victim suffered serious physical injury due to the defendant’s actions.

Serious physical injury is an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious and permanent disfigurement. This is a higher level of injury than simple physical injury, which only requires evidence of pain or impairment.

Examples of actions that could lead to a charge of second-degree assault include punching someone and causing a broken bone or concussion or stabbing someone with a knife and causing significant injury.

In cases involving domestic violence, second-degree assault can also be charged as violating a protective order. Suppose the defendant has been issued a protective order prohibiting them from assaulting their domestic partner, and they violate that order by causing serious physical injury. In that case, they can be charged with second-degree assault.

It’s important to note that a person can be charged with second-degree assault even if they did not directly cause the victim’s injury. If the defendant aided or abetted another person in committing the assault, or if they intentionally caused the victim to suffer an injury through their actions or inaction, they can still be charged with second-degree assault.

Defenses for a Second-Degree Assault Charge

Several defenses may be raised in the event of a second-degree assault charge. Some of the most common defenses include:

  1. Self-defense:

If you were acting in self-defense or in defense of others, you might be able to argue that the assault was justified.

  1. Lack of intent

To be found guilty of second-degree assault, you must have intended to cause harm to the victim. If you did not intend to cause harm, you might be able to argue that you did not commit the crime.

  1. Accident

If the assault resulted from an accident and was not intentional, you may be able to argue that you are not guilty of the crime.

  1. Mistaken identity

If you were wrongly accused of the assault, you might be able to argue that you are not guilty due to mistaken identity.

  1. Insanity

In some cases, it may be possible to argue that you were not legally responsible for the assault because you had a mental illness or were in an altered state of mind at the time of the incident.

It’s important to note that even if the victim does not press charges or does not want the defendant to be prosecuted, the state can still pursue a second-degree assault charge. The decision to prosecute is ultimately up to the state’s attorney’s office.

If you have been charged with second-degree assault in Maryland, it’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you and advise you on the best course of action.

In conclusion, second-degree assault in Maryland is the intermediate severity of assault charges. It requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant acted to cause physical injury to the victim and that the victim suffered severe bodily injury as a result. 

If you have been charged with second-degree assault, it is crucial to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at Albers Law can help you navigate the legal process and provide you with the best defense possible. Don’t try to handle this situation alone; let the Albers Law team fight for your rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact Albers Law today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward protecting your future.