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How an alleged victim’s job can influence Maryland assault charges

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Someone who engages in interpersonal violence in Maryland might end up arrested and accused of assault. State law generally prohibits acts of violence toward other people, and prosecutors can file major charges against those accused of violating assault statutes as a result.

Many assault cases that do not result in severe bodily injury and that do not involve deadly weapons will lead to misdemeanor charges against the defendant. Standard assault charges in Maryland are second-degree misdemeanors. The penalties could include up to $2,500 in fines or 10 years in prison.

However, there are certain scenarios in which Maryland prosecutors can pursue felony assault charges after an interpersonal conflict. Sometimes, neither the presence of a weapon nor severe bodily harm is necessary to trigger felony charges. The occupation of the alleged victim could be enough to enhance assault charges.

State law considers the profession of the victim

Any act of interpersonal violence is potentially a crime, and state lawmakers obviously want to deter assault whenever possible. The state has a particularly strong interest in fighting forms of assault that target state employees.

Someone who causes physical injury to someone that they know works for the state in certain professions could face second-degree felony assault charges. The careers that could trigger enhanced charges include:

  • law enforcement officers on duty
  • parole and probation officers
  • firefighters
  • emergency medical technicians
  • rescue squad members
  • any other first responders actively providing medical care or rescue support

Should someone become violent with and injure any of these professionals, Maryland prosecutors can pursue felony charges. The penalties include up to 10 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Judges may be more likely to sentence someone to maximum penalty when the person injured worked for the state.

The consequences don’t end when someone leaves court or serves their sentence. A felony assault charge will often cause more complications for those who must undergo a background check to obtain a job, a rental home or an educational opportunity. Understanding the special rules for assault in Maryland may help people prepare to more effectively defend against related criminal allegations.