Second-Degree Assault In Maryland: An Overview
Assault is a serious criminal charge that encompasses a broad range of behavior. Second Degree Assault Maryland is typically divided into first and second degrees, each with different criteria and penalties. This article will focus on second-degree assault, providing definitions, examples, possible ways charges may be dropped, and just how serious these offenses can be.
What is Second-Degree Assault, Maryland
In Maryland, second-degree assault is defined under Section 3-203 of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. It is a crime committed when a person intentionally causes or attempts to cause, physical harm to another person.
The person does not have to actually suffer an injury. The potential for harm, the intent, and the fear instilled in the victim are enough to establish the crime. This offense also includes intentionally causing physical contact with another when the person knows or has reason to know that the other will find it offensive or provocative.
Assault cases are often litigated in Maryland and some of the most cited cases are:
Syder v. State – 210 Md.App 370 – One of the questions addressed in this case was, “Was the evidence sufficient to find the appellant guilty of first and second-degree assault against Randy and Mary Ray.”
Thompson v. State – 229 Md.App 385 – This case discusses the intent to frighten the element of second-degree assault.
Here are some examples to better understand the nature of second-degree assault:
Second-degree assault examples include, but are not limited to the following Physical Attack:
- Spitting on another person intentionally;
- Striking another person with an object or attempting to hit another person with an object (lamp, vase, two-by-four, etc);
- Using a vehicle to hit another person or another person’s vehicle;
If a person uses an object or a part of their body to make offensive physical contact with another person, then it could be considered assault in the second degree, as long as it was not accidental.
Assault Charges Being Dropped
In Maryland, getting an assault charge dismissed involves several stages and requires legal expertise. Here are some steps you could consider:
- Hire a Lawyer: This is the first and foremost step. An experienced defense lawyer understands the ins and outs of the law and can guide you through the legal proceedings efficiently. They can help protect your rights and present your case in the best light.
- Investigate the Facts: Your lawyer will begin by thoroughly investigating the incident to identify any inconsistencies or discrepancies in the evidence or the statements provided by the prosecution. This could include speaking to witnesses, reviewing video footage if available, and examining the details of the alleged assault.
- Review the Arrest Procedure: The lawyer will review the arrest procedure to ensure that law enforcement followed all required procedures. Any mistakes or violations of your rights could be grounds for dismissal.
- File Motions: Depending on the evidence and circumstances of the case, your lawyer may file pretrial motions, such as a motion to dismiss due to lack of evidence or a motion to suppress evidence that was improperly obtained.
- Plea Bargain: If the evidence is against you, your lawyer may negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This could involve admitting to a lesser charge, which could carry a lighter sentence, in exchange for dismissal of the assault charge.
- Go to Trial: If all else fails, your lawyer may recommend going to trial. At trial, your defense team will present your case, challenging the prosecution’s evidence and presenting any defense evidence. The goal is to create reasonable doubt about your guilt in the mind of the jury.
Severity of the Crime
Second-degree assault is a misdemeanor in Maryland, but this doesn’t mean it’s a minor offense. If convicted, a defendant can face severe penalties including imprisonment of up to 10 years, and/or a fine up to $2,500. In cases where the assault is committed against a law enforcement officer during their official duty, it is classified as a felony, and the potential prison term increases to 10 years and/or a fine up to $5,000.
Additionally, a conviction can result in a criminal record, which can have long-term effects on a person’s life, including difficulty finding employment, securing housing, or even maintaining certain social relationships.
Second-degree assault in Maryland, although less severe than first-degree assault, is still a significant crime with hefty penalties. It involves a wide range of actions, from physical harm to the threat of harm, and even offensive physical contact. Although there are circumstances in which charges can be dropped or reduced, the potential consequences upon conviction are severe, highlighting the seriousness of these offenses. Therefore, it is crucial for anyone charged with such a crime to seek legal counsel immediately to understand their rights and potential defenses.