Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

The differences between first- and second-degree assault charges

On Behalf of | May 10, 2023 | Violent crimes

In Maryland, you can be charged with assault in the first or second degree. It all depends on the type of harm involved and the circumstances of your offense. While both types of assault involve threats or actual violence or force against another person, there are some key differences between the two.

Here is more on what you need to know about the two different degrees of assault offenses in Maryland.

First-degree assault is a felony

First-degree assault is the more serious of the two offenses. It involves the intentional and unlawful use of force that causes serious physical injury to another person. This charge can also apply if a firearm was used, even if the assault did not result in grievous harm. First-degree assault is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Second-degree assault can be a misdemeanor or a felony

Second-degree assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the victim’s identity. For instance, if you cause physical injury to a police officer, a parole agent or a firefighter while engaging in their official duties, you will be charged with a second-degree felony assault. The severity of their injuries does not matter.

Second-degree felony assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both. A misdemeanor assault is punishable with a maximum of 10 years in prison or a fine not exceeding $2,500 or both.

Get help protecting your rights and interests

An assault charge is serious, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. As such, it is crucial to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to help you navigate the legal system, build a strong defense and potentially reduce the severity of your charges or even have them dismissed.