Merriam-Webster defines assault as “a threat or an attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person… that puts the person in immediate danger or in apprehension of such harm or contact.” In Maryland, assault is a serious criminal offense. Depending on the exact nature of the charges, someone convicted of assault could face significant penalties, including imprisonment.
If you have been charged with an assault in Towson, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. A conviction could have serious consequences for your future with possible fines and even jail time depending on the circumstances. At Albers & Associates, our experienced criminal defense team is ready to move quickly on your case. We have the resources and skills to pursue innovative defense strategies, and we are prepared to aggressively advocate for you and your rights.
For a free consultation with our Towson assault attorneys, call (443) 665-8030 or contact us online.
What Qualifies as an Assault?
There are many ways that assault can occur, and not all of them may seem obvious. The most obvious case of assault, of course, is when a physical fight has occurred. If someone strikes another person, they could be charged with assault. Less obvious examples of assault could include pouring a drink on another person or simply brandishing a weapon. Even if the weapon caused no injury, if the threat of harm was perceived as imminent, an assault could be determined.
Assault charges are based on the threat of imminent harm or actual harm being done to a person. However, threats of violence can be a lot more difficult to prove than actual acts of violence, leading to clear evidence of injuries, such as bruises or lacerations. In any case, it’s important that you have a qualified Maryland assault lawyer on your side. You want someone with a thorough understanding of the law who can advocate for you.
Even if you did not actually physically harm anyone, you could still be charged with assault if the other person believed you were threatening them with violence. Threatening violence is considered assault in Maryland and carries with it serious criminal penalties, including potential years in prison.
How Is Assault Charged in Maryland?
There are two separate types of assault charges in Maryland:
- First-Degree Assault: In Maryland, first-degree assault is charged as a felony. You may be charged with first-degree assault if you are accused of intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another or if you allegedly commit assault with a firearm.
- Second-Degree Assault: Second-degree assault may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor in Maryland, depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense. Second-degree assault encompasses all forms of assault that do not fall under first-degree assault.
In most cases, second-degree assault is charged as a misdemeanor. However, certain aggravating factors or circumstances may elevate second-degree assault to a felony. This includes assault on a police officer, including probation and parole officers.
What Are the Penalties for Assault in Maryland?
The criminal penalties for assault in Maryland depend on how the offense is charged. In general, felonies are more harshly punished than misdemeanors, but this does not mean that misdemeanor charges should be taken lightly. Being convicted of a misdemeanor second-degree assault can have serious, long-lasting consequences in your life.
The penalties for assault in Maryland include:
- Up to 25 years in prison for a felony assault conviction
- Up to 10 years in prison for a misdemeanor assault conviction
- Thousands of dollars in fines and court costs
For second and subsequent offenses, the mandatory minimum sentence is extended. For example, while a first-degree felony assault has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for a second-time offense, the mandatory minimum sentence for a third-time first-degree felony assault in Maryland is 25 years. If a person is convicted a fourth time of assault, they could face life in prison.
Common Defenses for Assault
Self-defense is a very common defense against assault charges. However, there are a few things that you must prove to use this defense.
To prove self-defense, you (and your attorney) will usually need to prove the following:
- You were threatened with violence or harm against you that forced you to act
- You did not escalate the situation with threats, provocation, or retaliation
- You were reasonably afraid of being injured or harmed
- There was no way for you to exit the situation
Harming others is inherently wrong, but if the other person gave you no choice, you may have a solid defense against your assault charges. It all depends on your circumstances and the situation in which the altercation occurred.
Another common defense to assault charges in Maryland is defense of another. In such instances, you may argue that you were defending another person who was threatened with physical violence or harm, and you were forced to act on their behalf. You must prove the same elements as self-defense, along with proof that you used force to protect someone else.
Albers & Associates Can Help You Fight Assault Charges in Towson, MD
If you’re facing assault charges or any other kind of criminal charges in Maryland, you should seek the help of a lawyer who knows how to defend your future. At Albers & Associates, we are here to help you. Our Towson assault attorneys defend against all types of assault charges, including first-degree and second-degree assault, assault on a police officer, and second and subsequent offenses. We know the law and, most importantly, we know how to protect you.
Contact us today for more information and to set up a free consultation so that we can get to know your specific situation. All communication with our law firm is entirely confidential.
You can reach us online or by phone at (443) 665-8030.