First-Degree Assault in Maryland: Everything You Need to Know
If you are facing first-degree assault charges in Maryland, having a top-rated Maryland criminal lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
The Basics of First-Degree Assault in Maryland
Under Maryland law, first-degree assault is a serious crime that could result in a criminal conviction for a person convicted. Under the criminal justice system, a first-degree assault conviction could result in a felony conviction that could even result in jail time.
It is always crucial to work with a criminal lawyer to avoid the maximum penalty Maryland courts usually enforce for such a felony.
Defining First-Degree Assault Charges in Maryland
First-degree assault in Maryland is usually defined as intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another person. A serious physical injury is any that causes impairment or prolonged loss of function of any organ or bodily member.
Any assault committed with a firearm in Maryland is deemed first-degree assault.
Under the Maryland Code, the definition of a firearm can be expansive as it covers anything from a machine gun, handgun, assault pistol, antique firearms, shotguns, and rifles, among several other regulated firearms.
Maryland assault laws deem first-degree assault a felony that may result in a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Under the Maryland Criminal Code, any person who attempts to inflict serious physical injury and fails is just as guilty as if they had committed the crime.
This means that an attempt at first-degree assault may attract a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and any other collateral consequences that may arise.
If you have been charged with first-degree assault, it is critical to contact a skilled and experienced lawyer to help with your case. The lawyers at Scrofano Law are well versed in criminal law as they have been working on similar cases for years and may be able to help you get a favorable outcome.
What Is Considered First-Degree Assault in Maryland?
Under Maryland law, the element of intent is critical to establish the felony of first-degree assault.
As such, even if it is shown that one caused severe physical injury to another person, the prosecution will still have to show the defendant had an intention of causing severe physical injury.
However, it is essential to note that as a defendant, you will be presumed to have intended the natural consequences that arise from your actions under Maryland criminal law.
As such, the prosecution will only need to prove intention to act and that those actions resulted in the injury of another person. Moreover, the prosecutor does not need to prove ill-will or malice against the victim on the defendant’s part or that he wished to cause specific injury.
If you have been charged with first-degree assault, it is critical to contact a Maryland criminal lawyer to provide the necessary legal advice and representation at the district court.
At the Scrofano Law firm, we have professional lawyers that understand the relevant criminal procedure and the Maryland Code on domestic violence and assault. We may be able to represent you just as we have many other clients with favorable outcomes.
How to File Assault Charges in Maryland
Filing domestic violence, first or second-degree assault in Maryland usually follows a set procedure that includes:
- Filing a police report – If you have been the victim of an assault in Maryland, you must first report to the local police department. If the police decide to file charges, the Office of the State’s Attorney and the court will automatically become involved.
- File charges with a Commissioner – If you report and the police decide not to file charges, you can apply for a Statement of Charges under the District Court commissioner.
- Arrest or Summons – Under the Maryland Code, the commissioner will determine if there is a probable cause based on the details in the application. Once that is determined, they will issue a charging document or summons for the defendant to appear in court or, if not, be arrested.
- Trial – Once the trial begins, you may be expected to go to court as a witness. Under the Maryland Criminal Code, you can be arrested for failing to appear in court when summoned as a witness.
How to Beat a First-Degree Assault Charge
Beating a first-degree assault charge can be very difficult, even though it is not impossible. With a Maryland criminal lawyer by your side, you can put up a good defense against the crime you have been charged with.
You may have responded to an attack by defending yourself. If that is the case, you could find that Maryland assault laws may not apply as it may be argued that you did not commit assault.
A lawyer can also introduce reasonable doubt from the facts of the case. In some instances, alleged victims may fabricate their assault out of pure malice.
In such instances, the lawyer will work on all the details of the case, including engaging a medical professional, law enforcement officers, and witnesses to get all the facts.
Once you are charged with assault in Maryland, it is essential to secure the services of a Clinton criminal lawyer. Even if you are confident that you did not cause serious physical injury, you still have to work with an attorney who will provide the necessary advice you need on how to proceed.
What to Do if Charged With Assault in Maryland
If you have been accused of first or second-degree assault in Maryland, the first thing you should do is to secure the services of an experienced Maryland lawyer.
Most cases will usually have unique circumstances that a lawyer can use to research and evaluate the best strategies going forward. Moreover, even after the filing of charges, the attorney can still intervene to explain facts and defuse the situation while seeking an amicable resolution outside the court.
The lawyers at Scrofano Law have several decades of experience in first and second-degree assault cases. Our experienced Maryland attorney has relationships with law enforcement and prosecutors and knows their way around the courts and the Maryland criminal justice system.
Contact us today, and we may just be able to help you with your case.
First-Degree Assault Laws in Maryland
Assault cases rarely come with easy to decipher paper trails, so there are laws governing first-degree assault cases on aspects of reporting, evidence, and intent.
Evidence will usually include the 911 call if there was one and any available video surveillance. Emergency calls and video surveillance can record frantic moments during or following an assault that can be used in court.
The prosecution and the court will usually rely on the alleged victim testimony as the primary evidence. It will usually be up to your Maryland criminal defense lawyer to deconstruct testimony.
Depending on the severity of the injuries, the prosecution may be allowed to rely on medical records and expenses associated with the injuries.
It is usually up to the prosecution to prove that you committed offensive or harmful contact to inflict unprovoked harm.
Maryland First-Degree Assault Defense
As with any other alleged criminal offense, you always have some defense as to whether you committed the act or not. In such instances, some of the defenses are related to identifying the defendant as the perpetrator of assault or whether the accused has an alibi.
It is usually up to the prosecution to prove the accused’s intent, mainly when the charges include the infliction of severe physical injury. The prosecuting attorney will also need to prove that the accused had the intention of inflicting bodily harm.
Similar to any other assault, a Maryland criminal defense attorney can argue against a felony charge by claiming:
- Defense of other
- Defense of property
- Defense of one’s habitation
Even if the defendant intended to cause injury as long as they were acting in pursuit of the abovementioned causes, they might not be guilty of assault under Maryland law.
However, it is essential to note that each defense has particular elements and legal justifications that make them reasonable defenses in an assault case.
If you are in Maryland and have been charged with first-degree assault, you should take the charges seriously by hiring a criminal lawyer. Scrofano Law’s College Park criminal lawyer has the experience and skill you need to take on your first-degree assault case, and he may just be able to get favorable outcomes.