Maryland Assault Lawyer
Facing assault charges in Maryland can be intimidating and downright scary, but the fact is that you won’t have to face the charges alone. With the help of one of our experienced assault defense attorneys in Maryland, you can defend yourself against the charges using every legal resource available. This will dramatically improve your chances of having your case dismissed in court, or, failing this, having your charges lowered to the greatest extent possible.
If you are convicted of assault in Maryland, you could face either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and severity of the alleged crime. While a felony is the more serious of the two, and could result in years of jail time and heavy fines, misdemeanors are serious as well. Regardless of the specific nature of your charges, your Maryland assault lawyer will work equally hard to protect your constitutional rights and ensure the most favorable outcome allowable at your trial.
Definitions of Terms in Maryland Assault Charging Documents
The definitions of various terms used throughout Maryland’s criminal codes regarding assault and related crimes are covered by Section 3-201. According to this code, assault is defined as the crime of assault, battery, and assault and battery. This can include an action you take with the intention of harming another, even if no harm results.
This same code defines a law enforcement officer as any officer of the law, including correctional officers, WMATA Metro Transit Police officers, sheriffs and sheriff’s deputies, as well as local and state law enforcement agents.
The term “serious physical injury” appears throughout Maryland’s criminal code pertaining to assault and related crimes. According to code Section 3-201(d), serious physical injury is defined as any physical injury that causes protracted or permanent impairment or loss of a bodily organ or member, disfigurement, or a substantial risk of death. According to code Section 3-208, expert testimony, such as the testimony of a doctor, is admissible to prove serious physical injury. However, it is not required to prove it.
One of our experienced Maryland assault lawyers will assist you in understanding the language included in your charging documents, and explain how it applies to your case specifically.
Assault in the First Degree in Maryland
Crimes of first degree assault are covered by Maryland criminal code Section 3-202. This code states that an individual is prohibited from intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another individual.
According to section 2 of this code, any assault crime committed with the use of a firearm is considered first degree assault, regardless of whether serious physical injury or an attempt to inflict serious physical injury is involved. This code defines a firearm as any of the following:
- Regulated firearm
- Shotgun or short-barreled shotgun
- Rifle or short-barreled rifle
- Assault pistol
- Machine gun
The penalty handed down for Assault in the First Degree is a felony conviction, as well as imprisonment for up to 25 years. A skilled assault lawyer in Maryland can create a robust defense for your case, one that draws upon all legal resources in order to minimize the charges against you and any potential resulting penalties.
Assault in the Second Degree in Maryland
Crimes of second degree assault in Maryland are covered by state code Section 3-203. This code prohibits a person from committing any type of assault on another individual. The penalty for second degree assault is up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or some combination of the two.
However, section (c) of code Section 3-203 imposes stiffer penalties on individuals who commit second degree assault against a police officer. If the offender knows or has reason to know that the victim of the assault is a law enforcement, probation or parole officer engaged in official duties, the penalty is raised from a misdemeanor to a felony. Additional penalties include a fine not to exceed $5,000 and no more than 10 years in prison.
In many cases, actions that are effectively harmless can result in frivolous cases of second degree assault. An experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney can vigilantly defend against these types of charges. Even in more serious and complex cases, your attorney will use an in-depth knowledge of Maryland law and prosecutorial procedures in order to pursue the best possible outcome at your trial.
Poisoning and Intentional Contamination in Maryland
Maryland criminal code Section 3-214 covers the laws pertaining to intentionally contaminating food, beverages and water supplies in Maryland. According to part (a) of this code, it is illegal to willfully and knowingly contaminate, conspire to contaminate or attempt to contaminate a source of water used for domestic purposes, including reservoir, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, brooks, springs and well. The types of contaminants specifically prohibited include bacteria, germs, poison and poisonous matter.
Further, part (b) of this code prohibits a person from willfully and knowingly contaminating, conspiring to contaminate or attempting to contaminate any food supply, food product, food or drink with the same types of materials.
The penalty for either of these crimes is a felony conviction, as well as no more than 20 years in prison.
The related crime of attempted poisoning is covered by criminal code Section 3-213. This code prohibits individuals from attempting to poison other individuals. The penalty for this crime is a felony, plus between 2 and 10 years in prison.
Finally, the related crime of willfully and knowingly causing another individual to ingest bodily fluid by force, threat of force or without consent is covered by criminal code Section 2-215. Within this code, bodily fluid is defined as urine, feces, blood or seminal fluid. The penalty for this crime is a misdemeanor, as well as a fine of up to $2,500 and no more than 10 years in prison.
Assault by Inmate in Maryland
According to Maryland criminal code Section 3-210, it is illegal for an inmate of a jail or prison to assault another inmate, a correctional officer or any other employee of a sheriff’s office or correctional facility.
The sentence imposed for this crime is to run consecutive to any sentence the inmate is already serving, and not concurrent with it. In addition, the additional sentence imposed for the assault committed by the inmate may not be suspended.
Life-Threatening Injury by Driving Under the Influence in Maryland
In Maryland, crimes that could effectively be described as “assault by DUI” are covered by state criminal code Section 3-211. According to this code, it is illegal to cause a life-threatening injury to another individual by negligently controlling, driving or otherwise operating an automobile or boat while under the influence of alcohol. In this case, being “under the influence of alcohol” means having a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 0.08 grams per 100 ml of blood. The penalty for this crime is a misdemeanor, as well as up to 3 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
If the same crime is committed while the individual is impaired by alcohol, but not necessarily in excess of the 0.08 standard, the penalty is also a misdemeanor, as well as up to 2 years in prison and a fine of no more than $3,000. The penalty is exactly the same if the crime is committed while the individual is impaired by drugs or controlled dangerous substances.
Reckless Endangerment Law in Maryland
Reckless endangerment, a crime closely related to assault, is covered by Maryland criminal code Section 3-204. According to this code, it is illegal to recklessly engage in any sort of conduct that creates a significant risk of serious physical injury or death to another individual. This code equally prohibits discharging a gun from a motor vehicle in a way that creates the same. This code does not apply to the sale, production or manufacture of a commodity or product. It also does not apply to individuals defending themselves or others from a violent crime.
If multiple individuals are endangered by the behavior of the offender, a separate charge can be brought for each one. The penalty for reckless endangerment in Maryland is a misdemeanor, as well as up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Having Assault Charges Dismissed in Maryland
Under certain circumstances, charges of assault may be dismissed before a trial is even reached, according to Maryland criminal code Section 3-207. For obvious reasons, this will be the outcome to your case that your Maryland defense attorney will primarily pursue.
According to this code, your assault case may be dismissed by the court if both you and the alleged victim agree to the dismissal of the charges, and the court deems that the dismissal is the proper course of action.
Maryland Assault Crime Statistics
In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, crime had significantly declined from the previous year. Overall crime was down approximately 5.5%, with violent crime declining 6%. Aggravated assault in particular dropped by 5.6%, with a total of 18,898 assaults being committed over the course of the year — the lowest since 1983. This made for a rate of 327.3 assaults per 100,000 people per year, the lowest since 1976.
In fact, the yearly number of assaults in Maryland has been declining steadily since 2002, a year that marked the end of a period of increased assaults during the 90s. In general, however, the overall violent crime rate in Maryland has been dropping since approximately 1996.
The ten safest cities in Maryland, accounting for both violent and property crime, include Queen Anne, Barnesville, Eagle Harbor, Port Tobacco Village, Mount Savage, Tilghman Island, Sharpsburg, Fairmount Heights, Windsor Mill and Burkittsville.