Assault lawyer

In the State of Maryland, assault is a serious offense.

The law defines an assault as intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another person. In addition, “physical injury” is defined as “any impairment of physical condition, excluding minor injuries”. The Maryland Criminal Code breaks assault down into First Degree (felony) and Second Degree (misdemeanor). There are separate charges for assault on a police officer, law enforcement officer, or probation or parole agent.

What is First Degree Assault in Maryland?

There are generally two types of assault charges in Maryland. Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-202 defines felony assault as First Degree Assault. First Degree Assault carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail. First Degree Assault carries more serious incidents like where a firearm is used in the commission of the crime. Whenever a deadly weapon is used in the allegations, the State will almost always charge First Degree Assault.

To convict someone of First Degree Assault, the State must prove an assault occurred with a firearm or the accused intended to cause a serious physical injury. To constitute “serious physical injury,” the assault must present a reasonable risk of death or an actual serious injury. When charged with First Degree Assault, its important to consult with an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer. Because of the serious nature of this charge, a typical sentence for assault first degree can involve substantial jail time. For someone who has priors, the sentence can be worse if it’s a second or greater offense.

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What is Second Degree Assault in Maryland?

The definition of Second Degree Assault can be found in Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-203. It is a misdemeanor. However, Second Degree Assault is a serious offense that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $2,500.00 fine. Its important to note that unlike most states the Maryland Criminal Code permits misdemeanors to have a maximum penalty of greater than one year in prison. The crime of assault on a police officer, parole, or probation officer similarly carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail but the maximum fine is increased to $5,000.00 and assault under these circumstances is a felony.

Under the Maryland Criminal Code, any unwanted physical contact can constitute an assault even where the complaining witness does not sustain an injury. In fact, an assault can occur with no actual physical contact. For example, you could swat a coffee cup out of someone’s hand and that would technically constitute an assault under Maryland criminal laws. Spitting on someone similarly constitutes assault in the second degree.

Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Parole or Probation Agent.
Once an individual is arrested for DUI in Maryland, the police will confiscate their driver’s license and issue them a temporary license for 45 days. After that time elapses, MVA will suspend the driver’s license for 45 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second offense or if the driver refuses the breath test. The officer must also provide the driver with a form DR-15 that outlines the terms of the suspension and need to request a hearing.

The driver must request a hearing within 10 days of the arrest to get an extension document that keeps the driver’s license valid until the date of the MVA hearing. At the MVA hearing, the driver can request the administrative law judge modify the period of suspension. For example, if the driver can show the suspension causes a work hardship, its possible the judge will modify the suspension to permit the individual to drive to and from work.

If the driver refused the breath test, then the judge cannot shorten or modify the suspension unless the driver agrees to having an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The purpose of the interlock device is to make sure the driver does not operate their vehicle after consuming alcohol. The driver must pay the cost of the interlock device.

Is Diversion Available for Assault?

In most criminal cases, the only two options are to take the case to trial or reach a plea deal with the Assistant State’s Attorney. In some cases where the allegations are less serious, a third options may sometimes exist called diversion. Diversion typically involves jumping through some hoops by performing community service, taking classes or paying fines in exchange for getting your charges dismissed. In Maryland, diversion is not a likely option for First Degree Assault.

However, it may be available in some Second Degree Assault cases where no injury occurs and it’s the defendant’s first offense. This can involve either performing community service in exchange for dismissal or having the case placed on the stet docket. Placing a case on the stet docket makes it inactive while the person completes some special conditions like anger management classes. Where the defendant successfully completes diversion, there will be no jail time for the offense at sentencing because the defendant does not get sentenced.

Hiring a Maryland Assault Attorney
Getting charged with any crime is serious. Assault charges in Maryland are extremely serious and can result in substantial prison time if convicted. Because of the serious nature of these charges, its extremely important to hire a qualified and experienced Maryland assault lawyer who can investigate the charges, negotiate with the prosecutor, and fight to enforce your constitutional rights. An experienced attorney can challenge the government’s evidence and ultimately try the case and force the government to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

When hiring a criminal defense lawyer, there are specific things to look for to ensure you get the best representation possible. First off, hiring a criminal defense attorney can be as substantial a purchase as buying a car in some instances. Its important to find someone you are comfortable with who has experience in the courthouse where the prosecutor files your charges. This person will help you make what could be one of the most consequential decisions of your life.

Accordingly, finding a criminal defense lawyer in Maryland who will be honest with you is incredibly important. In addition, because the potential consequences are so severe, you want someone who will be committed to your case throughout the process. Lastly, each case is different so finding a lawyer who will take a creative approach to problem solving is also key to finding the right lawyer.

If you or a friend or loved one has been arrested and charged with a Maryland assault crime, contact Attorney Morgan Leigh immediately for a full case evaluation. Ms. Leigh has successfully defended individuals charged in Maryland in courts in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and beyond. She is a dedicated advocate who is not afraid to fight to protect your rights. Remember, an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. If you have been arrested, hiring a dedicated Maryland assault lawyer can make all the difference in the case.

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Our Firm Provides Criminal Defense Representation in These and Other Maryland Areas

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