What Is An Assault Against a Police Officer?
Assault against a police officer is causing harm or injury to a law enforcement officer on duty. The crime also pertains to attempting or threatening to cause harm to the officer. Assaulting a police officer is a serious crime with specific and harsh penalties.
In addition to penalties, the charges of assault on a police officer come with a bit of stigma. The law finds it more offensive to assault an officer acting within their capacity. The officer’s authority level permits them to enforce the law. That is why this type of assault offense is taken so seriously.
When you are charged with assaulting a police officer, the criminal process can be sensitive. The assaulted officer will be there as both the witness and victim of the crime. You risk getting significant penalties as punishment.
Therefore, it is beneficial to have an experienced Maryland assault lawyer with you. A skilled attorney from Scrofano Law P.C., can help you with your assault case and ensure your rights are protected. Read on to learn more about this type of crime and how we can help.
Assault Against a Police Officer Laws in Maryland
Assault occurs when a person threatens, places reasonable fear, or attempts to cause immediate harm to another. In that case, the victim believes that the person can carry out the threat of imminent harm.
Assaulting a police officer’s charges vary from typical assault. Under Penal Code § 241 C, assaulting an officer is a criminal offense. This charge must meet the following criteria:
The defendant intended to frighten or threaten another person with immediate physical harm.
The defendant attempted to cause offensive physical contact or harm.
The defendant caused offensive physical harm to another person.
The defendant caused or threatened bodily harm to an officer performing official duties.
The defendant was aware or had reason to know that the victim was a law enforcement officer.
The defendant acted willfully.
The officer was engaged in the performance of lawful duties. Such official duties include making an arrest, investigating, or directing traffic.
Who Are Considered Law Enforcement Officers in Maryland?
Maryland defines police officers to include all public safety officers, such as:
Police officers and sheriffs
Probation and parole officers
University and school police officers
Transit and parking enforcement officers
Private security officers or guards
The law also includes assaults committed against the following individuals under that category:
An ambulance technician
Firefighter who is providing aid
Peace officer, firefighter
Emergency medical technician
Mobile intensive care paramedic
Code enforcement officer
Animal control officer
Search and rescue member
What Are the Charges for Assaulting a Police Officer?
The classification for assault on a police officer varies in Maryland based on the severity of the officer’s injuries. However, assault of an officer is a felony-level offense.
- Class D felony: second-degree assault in Maryland. This is where the officers suffer serious physical injury or physical impairment.
- Class C felony: first-degree assault in Maryland. This involves cases where the officer died, lost a body part, or suffered severe health impairment.
- Class B felony: aggravated assault in Maryland. This involves cases where a dangerous or deadly weapon was used on a police officer.
Penalties for Assaulting a Law Enforcement Officer in Maryland?
If you are convicted of assaulting an officer, usually, probation is not an option. Typically, the severity of the punishment depends on the type of injury or impairment of the officer.
For a general assault charge, penalties include a fine not exceeding $2,500 and less than ten years in jail.
In contrast, when the crime involves an officer of the law, the penalties increase. It is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to ten years in county jail, or both. If a weapon was used in the alleged assault, the potential imprisonment could stretch to 25 years upon conviction.
Other than the punishments, a felony conviction can have other consequences, such as the following:
Trouble obtaining housing
Restitution, i.e., victim assistance fee
Trouble finding a job
Issues while looking for financing
Long-term ramifications due to having a criminal record
It is imperative to have a Maryland criminal lawyer who understands the assault law on your side.
Fighting Assault on a Police Officer Charges
An assault on a police officer charge is a felony offense in Maryland. Defending yourself against law enforcement officers can be complex. You may wish to investigate the events during the offense and gather witnesses who can testify on your behalf. However, handling assault charges without legal counsel can complicate the case outcome.
Since this area could be more complicated than many other legal realms, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is a good idea.
Is Self-Defense a Reasonable Defense?
Self-defense can be a justifiable defense against an assault on a police officer charge. But, to establish self-defense, you must show you were in imminent danger of physical harm. In that case, your use of force was to protect yourself.
Is Resisting Arrest Considered Assault on a Police Officer?
Resisting arrest can be a separate charge from assaulting a police officer. But, if you threatened or caused physical harm during the arrest, you may be charged with assault. Resisting arrest involves obstructing an officer’s lawful duty to make an arrest. In contrast, assault involves intentionally causing harm or threatening to harm an officer.
How Scrofano Law P.C. Can Help
At Scrofano Law, P.C., we can assess your case to determine how to plan the most strategic defense. For example, here are some of the most common defenses for assault and battery crimes involving an officer.
- Lack of knowledge that the victim was a police officer
- Accidental occurrence of the event where the officer suffers harm
- Resisting an unlawful arrest
- False accusation
Also, we can access the police body cameras and possibly show that the alleged crime was not as the officer describes it.
A charge of assaulting a police officer is severe in Maryland, and a conviction is severely punishable. Even a simple assault can cost you several years in prison.
At Scrofano Law, P.C., our skilled assault lawyers have been actively helping clients with cases in Maryland similar to yours. Let us help you. If you face assault charges or other offenses, do not hesitate to contact us.
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