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Difference Between Assault and Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland

As defined by Maryland law, assault can be constituted in different ways. The only difference between assault and domestic violence charges in Maryland is the potential for other charges such as harassment and stalking. The charges can be domestically-related if the other person involved is a spouse, partner, child, or an adult who may be vulnerable.

When a person’s case fits under a domestic violence matter, it is based on the relationship they have with the individual who assaulted them. When facing either of these charges, an individual should reach out to an experienced domestic violence lawyer who can help them build an appropriate defense.

Classifications of Maryland Assault

An individual should have an understanding of what assault is before comparing the difference between assault and domestic violence charges in Maryland. Maryland only has two counts of assault, assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree. Second-degree assault is a misdemeanor charge.  First-degree assault is a serious felony assault charge.

It is important to note that assault in the second degree occurs in a number of ways. Assault can be conduct or statements that make a reasonable person believe they are in immediate danger of bodily harm. Verbal conduct or outward conduct can be a technical assault. Assault can also be the attempt to hit someone but not actually hitting them, just the attempt itself.

Actual contact with an individual is another form of assault. If that contact is so great that someone is injured substantially, a misdemeanor assault can become a felony. A first-degree assault charge can also include an assault scenario with a weapon such as a gun, knife, lamp, or another object that can cause serious bodily injury. Charges labeled as reckless endangerment can be included as well.

Being Charged for Domestic Violence and Assault

There is no difference between assault and domestic violence charges in Maryland. The authorities label the file domestically. Certain things indicate an assault is a domestic matter. For example, when there is a domestic partnership of some type and an assault occurs it can be labeled as a domestic matter.

Difference in Case Treatment

There is no difference in defense strategies for assault and domestic violence in Maryland. Sometimes one person assaults someone they do not know. In a domestic matter, the person assaults someone they know and has a long relationship or intimate relationship with. In its own right, the situation is looked at differently and treated much harsher because the offense is against someone who has a trust built relationship with the aggressor.

Consequences of Domestic Violence and Assault Charges

There is no difference between assault and domestic violence charges in Maryland. If a case may be labeled domestic it does not affect the penalty in any way. The maximum penalty for an assault second degree is 10 years. If the case is labeled domestic, some things in a disposition from a judge may be different. They might send the person to couple’s counseling, or anger management classes, or may have the person do community service. The judge details the file differently and asks for things that may be different in probation. The judge focuses on the fact that this is a domestic matter and merits close attention.

There is no difference in long-term consequences for domestic violence charges and assault charges. One of the consequences of being charged with assault is that anyone looking at the person’s record considers them to be a violent person. When it is cited as a domestic matter, that information is available to anyone checking the person’s record and they know that this involves an intimate matter. That is generally frowned upon and is not acceptable in any way.