Most Maryland residents understand the concept of assault and they know that they just can't physically attack another individual. However, an assault may not be the same in every case since each circumstance can be different. So here is a look at the various levels of assault charges in the state.
The most serious degree of assault in Maryland is first degree assault. A person can be charged with this crime if the prosecution believes that an individual purposefully injured or attempted to injure another person. First degree assault also includes the use of a weapon such as a gun or a knife. All first degree assault charges in Maryland are a felony and the maximum prison sentence is 25 years.
As its name implies, second degree assault is a less serious assault charge, though it still can carry significant punishment. A person can be charged with this offense if they touch or injure someone in an unwanted way. A second degree assault is considered a misdemeanor in Maryland and can draw a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500. However, if the person assaulted was either a policeman or a prison guard, then the assault is considered a felony and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
The next category of assault charge in the state is reckless endangerment. A crime is considered reckless endangerment if someone thoughtlessly places another individual at risk for serious physical injury or even death, even if it wasn't intentional. Discharging a firearm from a car or other vehicle also falls into this category. Anyone convicted of reckless endangerment can go to prison for up to five years and pay a fine of up to $5,000.
Facing assault charges, no matter what the degree, is a serious matter. Any Maryland resident who has been charged with assault may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney in order to fully understand all of the legal implications that come with an assault charge.
Source: mgaleg.maryland.gov, "Article - criminal law," Accessed Aug. 23. 2015