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Intent matters in assault cases

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | Violent crimes

Not only is assault a serious criminal charge, but it carries a stigma with it. In Maryland, assault is categorized as a threat of physical violence or an act of physical violence against another person.

What if you had no intention to harm the individual? Could this provide a valid defense to assault charges?

You cannot accidentally assault someone

You’re playing a game of soccer with a bunch of friends and acquaintances. You go in for a tackle and unfortunately miss the ball and instead trip another player up by mistake. They subsequently fall to the ground and hit their head. They’ve lost a few teeth and are feeling very dazed. Someone shouts, “That was assault!” But was it really assault? In short, the answer is no. If you had no intention of causing or threatening physical harm, then it is not assault.

Violence in self-defense

Perhaps you are facing charges after using violence to defend yourself. Are the charges justified, or are you entitled to defend yourself with violence in Maryland?

The answer largely depends on the specific context of the situation. If you were backed into a corner, genuinely believed there was a threat to your life and safety and only used the amount of force necessary to stop the attack, then self-defense laws may apply to your case. In Maryland, you are entitled to defend yourself with reasonable force if you fear imminent harm.

Not only are there physical elements to criminal offenses but there are also mental requirements or criminal intent. If you were lacking criminal intent but are still facing assault charges, make sure you seek some legal guidance.