Assault Charges in Maryland
Maryland assault is broken down into two categories. There is assault in first degree and assault in second degree. The difference is that first degree assault is a felony with a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail. Second degree assault is a misdemeanor.
Assault itself is defined as offensive touching of another person without consent that places that person in immediate fear. Assault can include even the slightest type of conduct. If you get into a provoked altercation that escalates into a physical altercation and that person truly believes they are in immediate danger, then that is an assault.
The biggest difference between the two is that first degree assault occurs when there is an attempt or an actual cause of serious physical injury, which can occur through the use of a weapon or through actual physical contact, for example if you get into a fist fight with someone, you punch them, and you break their nose, you will probably be charged with assault in the first degree.
Or, if you pull out a gun or some other weapon, that could also be considered assault in the first degree. Second-degree assault is considered an attempt to cause offensive physical contact. The maximum penalty for assault in the second degree is 10 years. Assault charges are serious allegations. You could get into a fight with someone who hits you and file charges against them, and they can file charges back against you. You need an attorney that understands that this is a serious crime. It’s always a big deal. 10 years is a very long time.
How Does The State Prove Assault?
Prosecutors will call up the alleged victim who will have to testify that on this date, at this time, and at this location these events took place. They will have to testify that they were either physically injured or threatened in such a manner that was offensive to them and that they believed that there was a substantial risk of injury or death. In cases where that physical threat came from a firearm, a weapon, or actual physical injury, that could be considered first-degree assault. Second-degree assault would be an offensive touching or an offensive attempt to touch someone.
Time-Sensitive Evidence in Assault Cases
The presence of bruises can be time-sensitive. Generally, if someone has been grabbed or hit, they have bruises to prove it. That physical evidence proves that someone did hit you because you have punch marks on your neck or red marks around your head, for example. You are looking for any place on the body that responded to a violent touch. Sometimes the police take photographs of the other individual but never bother to photograph both people. If you have bruising around your neck, shoulders, or back the next day, then there is enough evidence to prove that they were, in fact, acting in self-defense.