Criminal charges range in severity even within the same type of violation or offense. Certainly, the terms “misdemeanor” and “felony” may seem familiar, but other terms could also apply to more serious crimes. For example, you may have recently found yourself under arrest because authorities believed you had involvement in a physical altercation that led to injuries.
You may have anticipated the term “assault” coming into play, but you may not have fully understood what officers meant when they said that you could face an aggravated assault charge. Unfortunately, if an aggravated charge applies, it means that the allegation has a higher level of severity, and you could face more severe punishments if convicted of such a charge.
Why would an aggravated charge apply?
An aggravated charge does not apply to every assault case or suspected assault. Authorities may believe that your situation deserves an enhanced charge due to any of the following factors:
- If the alleged victim was a police officer, firefighter or other public servants
- If the altercation was racially charged or involved an attack due to another protected factor like religion or sexual orientation, which could constitute a hate crime
- If the incident involved a deadly weapon
- If officers believe that you intended to cause serious or even permanent harm to the victim
- If the victim did suffer severe or permanent injuries, including those that are life-threatening or those that could lead to maiming or disfigurement
Of course, Maryland state law can include more specific details as to when an enhanced charge regarding assault could apply. As a result, it is important that you fully understand what these charges could mean for your particular case.
How can you handle an enhanced charge?
You certainly do not want to face severe punishment for a crime, especially one in which you simply defended yourself or someone else. Fortunately, you can combat serious allegations like aggravated assault by creating and presenting a meaningful defense.
You may feel worried that you cannot come up with a way to thoughtfully present your side of the ordeal, but you do not have to take such steps alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney can act as your legal advocate and help you determine your best courses of action for fighting back against the charges you face in hopes of reaching a favorable outcome.