Westminster Assault Lawyer

Despite being one of the more loosely defined offenses under state law, assault is one of the most common criminal charges law enforcement authorities pursue against Westminster residents. As such, contesting allegations that you assaulted another person can be a deceptively complex endeavor to do without the guidance of a skilled defense attorney.

Help from a committed Westminster assault lawyer could make a world of difference in protecting your rights and interests from start to finish of your legal proceedings. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony-level charges, a seasoned defense attorney could work diligently to collect evidence on your behalf, construct a comprehensive defense, and advocate for the most favorable result possible.

Felony and Misdemeanor Assault Charges

As per Maryland Code, Criminal Law §3-201, “assault” as a criminal offense can entail assault, battery, or both in accordance with their “judicially determined” meanings. In other words, someone can be charged with assault in Maryland for physically striking another person, putting another person in reasonable fear of harm, or doing both in a single incident. There are two separate assault offenses defined in the Criminal Law section of the Maryland Code, one being a misdemeanor, and the other being a felony offense.

Causation of “serious physical injury” is one of three aggravating conditions that can turn a misdemeanor assault charge into a felony aggravated assault charge. The same statute defines “serious physical injury” as any injury which causes permanent disfigurement or disability or has a substantial risk of being fatal. The other two aggravating factors that may make an assault charge a felony offense are the use of a firearm or intentional strangulation. A Westminster attorney could further explain how state law defines assault and other relevant terminology as needed during a private consultation.

Domestic Violence Charges

Unlike some other states, Maryland does not define “domestic violence” as its own form of assault and battery or as a distinct criminal offense, and having an assault charge categorized as domestic violence does not allow for enhanced criminal penalties in the event of a conviction. However, being accused of domestic assault can still have a significant effect on how an ensuing criminal case plays out, since it may prompt a judge to impose sanctions like mandatory counseling, community service, and/or anger management classes in addition or as an alternative to the standard penalties. Early stages of the criminal process may occur more quickly than normal as well, if the court believes there is a risk of further harm coming to the alleged target(s) of a domestic violence assault.

Potential Penalties for an Assault Conviction

Despite its classification as a misdemeanor, second-degree assault charges pursued under Maryland Code, Criminal Law §3-203 are punishable by a maximum ten-year prison term upon conviction, as well as a maximum fine of $2,500. If someone assaults and causes physical injury to a law enforcement officer, parole or probation agent, or any emergency worker on duty, charges pursued under this statute may be classified as a felony. In these cases, there is also a maximum ten-year prison term, and the maximum fine is raised to $5,000. As per Maryland Code, Criminal Law §3-202, aggravated assault is always considered a felony, and anyone convicted under this statute may face a maximum prison term of 25 years.

Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Offenders

Aggravated assault is one of several offenses that counts as a violent felony under Maryland’s “three strikes” rule for habitual offenders. This rule means that someone convicted of aggravated assault, or any combination of other similar offenses three times, may face life in prison without parole upon conviction for a fourth violent felony. Support from a seasoned assault lawyer in Westminster could be vital for anyone dealing with these uniquely sensitive allegations.

Consider Working with a Westminster Assault Attorney

No matter your background or criminal history, assault charges can have life-altering repercussions if they lead to a conviction. Before trying to defend yourself against accusations like this, consider the benefits of having knowledgeable legal counsel on your side.

Retaining a Westminster assault lawyer could be the first step toward achieving a positive case resolution. Learn more by calling today.