In Maryland, assault can occur in one of three ways: (1) when an individual makes unwanted physical contact with another person, (2) when an individual attempts to make unwanted physical contact with another person, or (3) when an individual causes another person to fear unwanted physical contact. Depending on the circumstances, an assault in Maryland may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. However, regardless of the classification, if you are facing assault charges in Maryland, you should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced Silver Spring criminal defense attorney. Below is some additional information about assault in Maryland.
A person commits first-degree assault when he or she causes or attempts to cause a harmful or offensive contact to another individual with the intent to cause substantial injury. First-degree assault is a felony, and it carries a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years. First-degree assault includes:
- Intentionally causing someone serious bodily injury
- Attempting to cause someone serious bodily injury
- Assaulting someone with a firearm
A person commits second-degree assault when he or she causes or attempts to cause a harmful or offensive contact to another person. Assaults that don’t involve serious physical injury or a firearm are usually classified as second-degree assault. Second-degree assault is a misdemeanor, and it carries a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500.
Can I claim self-defense?
When a person commits an act that meets the requirements of assault, he or she may assert self-defense if:
- He or she was not the initial aggressor
- He or she was in fear of immediate and imminent danger of bodily harm
- His or her fear of immediate and imminent bodily harm was reasonable under the circumstances
- He or she used no more force than was reasonably necessary to ward off the aggressor
In order to successfully claim self-defense, the fourth element above is crucial. An individual may do only enough to stop the threat of immediate and imminent danger of bodily harm. For example, an individual may defend a punch with a punch, but he or she may not respond to a punch by attacking the aggressor with a weapon. When asserting self-defense in court, a defendant must introduce evidence demonstrating that he or she acted in self-defense by meeting the above elements. Following the introduction of these elements, the state must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Let us defend you against assault charges in Maryland
The absolute best thing you can do following an arrest for assault is contact a Silver Spring criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Asher Weinberg, we base our mission on the ideal that each accused person is innocent until proven guilty. With this principle in mind, attorney Asher Weinberg works tirelessly to defend his clients against criminal charges of all kinds, including felony and misdemeanor assault charges. If you are facing assault charges in Maryland, please contact us today for a consultation.
Posted in: Criminal Defense