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The differing degrees of assault in Maryland

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Violent crimes

Many states consider assault and battery separate offenses. Battery is typically the more serious offense because it involves physical contact and often injury. The offense of assault may not, depending on each state’s laws.

Maryland law, however, includes the concept of battery under the umbrella of assault offenses.  According to Maryland’s statute, assault refers to “crimes of assault, battery, and assault and battery, which retain their judicially determined meanings.”

There are various degrees of assault. The severity of an assault offense depends on just how serious the assault was and if battery was involved.

First degree assault

This is the most serious assault charge. It is used for assaults involving:

  • Use of any kind of firearm
  • Intentional strangling
  • Intentionally causing or attempting to cause “serious physical injury to another.”

A conviction can result in up to 25 years in prison.

Second degree assault

Maryland law also includes second degree felony and misdemeanor assault: Both come with a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine. According to the law, offense involves inflicting a physical injury that’s defined as “any impairment of physical condition, excluding minor injuries.”

Even if someone takes a swing at someone or throws something at them and misses, the attempt to harm them can be considered enough to warrant an assault charge. Even intentionally spitting on someone can be considered assault.

What charges a person may face depends on a number of things, like whether they were attempting to defend themselves or someone else, whether they were provoked and whether it’s clear if they were even trying to harm someone. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance if you or a loved one is facing any type of assault charge. A legal representative’s strategic approach can make a big difference in whether certain charges are reduced or even dropped. That, in turn, can determine the consequences that a defendant may or may not ultimately be compelled to weather.