Charged with Second Degree Assault in Maryland? Start here.
If you have been charged with second degree assault in Maryland it can seem scary, especially since each charge carries a maximum of ten (10) years of incarceration. If you've reached this page you may be wondering, where do I find a lawyer for a 2nd degree assault Maryland first offense?
If this is your first time being charged, then you've reached the right page. Below we will address commonly asked questions about assault in the second degree charges asked by people without experience in the criminal justice system, the attorneys with FrizWoods:
What is an Assault in the Second Degree?
Although it may seem confusing, there are a wide variety of actions that could constitute the crime of Assault in under Maryland Law:
A battery, or a harmful or offensive physical contact to another person. This action must shown to be intentional, not a mistake. Causing physical harm, bodily harm, or phyiscal injury to another would satisfy this requirement.
An attempted battery, or trying to cause a harmful or offensive physical contact with another person.
An assault with the intent to frighten another with a threat of physcial contact. Think of making a person flinch.
Assaults involving spouses or domestic partners are considered "domestic assaults". Theses cases typically have their own specially designated prosecutors in most jurisdictions. Assaults involving deadly weapons like guns, or serious bodily injuries could be charged as felony assault in the first degree.
Assault in Maryland is a misdemeanor, and can involve just about any unconsenting touching of another person.
Will I go to jail in Maryland for an assault?
This question is perhaps the hardest to answer. Generally speaking, first time offenders of second degree assault do not receive incarceration, and they are often placed on a supervised or unsupervised probation and given a fine. Second Degree Assault in Maryland has a maximum penalty of 10 years of jail. Having said that, there are a number of factors a Judge could consider when sentencing a first time second degree assault offender:
- Prior convictions for other offenses similar to second degree assault
- Physical injuries to the victims
- Presence of alcohol or drugs
- Actions a person takes pending their trial
- Allocution from a criminal defense attorney
First time second degree assault Defendants are often placed on probation, supervised or unsupervised. Probation typically has terms, which if you don't follow you could earn a Violation of Probation
Assault allegations often result in the issuance of warrants. It is possible that you could be arrested for assault charges.
What if the other person wants to drop the case?
Generally the an allegation of criminal assault is The State of Maryland vs. You, not a case brought specifically by a victim. Typically there are two sources of charges:
- A Police Officer's sworn application for Statement of Charges
- A complaint by a person submitted to a commissioner by a handwritten complaint
In the event of a Police Officer's Charges, the State typically makes a decision on the day of the trial to either dismiss the case, offer a STET (an indefinite postponement), or some sort of agreed plea.
If the "Victim" fails to appear on a State's summons, or does not want to move forward, often the State is placed in a difficult position as they might not be able to prove their case. This is where having a competent attorney is especially important, because the Prosector may try to continue the case, or even proceed to trial without a victim.
What type of evidence could the State have?
Second Degree Assault charges are usually outside the view of the arresting Police officer or charging law enforcement officer, so the State's evidence typically includes
These are inadmissible in Court, and would be considered "hearsay". There are exceptions to the hearsay rules that might apply and make the Statement admissible for limited reasons. When a law enforcement officer or Police Officer is a witness, there is a high likelihood they will appear for court.
Officers have been trained to capture images of victim's physical injuries in assault cases. Often these photographs are evidence in the State's case; however, a photograph without testimony about an injury would not be sufficient in a Court for a conviction.
Body worn camera
Many agencies across Maryland have employed body worn camera on their officers. This camera footage is often used in Court by the State, and includes the victim's statement on the scene. These statements cannot be used to prove a case alone, but they can be used if a victim is reluctant to testify about an assault.
How can we defend my Maryland case?
Defending your second degree assault case will often require taking your case to trial. Many assaults are he said, she said, which means that there are two conflicting versions of a story told by two people. Going to trial is often required to show a Judge that the State cannot prove the assault occurred one way or another. We can argue legal defenses like self defense, which is recognized in Maryland criminal law. Self defense can be generated by an experienced criminal defense lawyer, even in cases where there is serious bodily harm.
Will this Second Degree Assault go on my record?
Assault convictions would go on your criminal record. If the case is dismissed, your second degree assault lawyer can expunge it from your record the same day as court according to criminal procedure and Maryland criminal code. The same goes for an acquittal or not guilty verdict.
If you are convicted, your Assault in the Second Degree charge is eventually expungable; however, not until fifteen years after the completion of your sentence.
Many first offenders are offered a Probation before judgment or "PBJ" by the Court in their second degree assault case. A probation before Judgment is a special disposition in Maryland that "strikes" the conviction before it is entered and places a person on a probationary period. Technically, this is not a conviction on your record; however, it is still visible to others on Maryland case search. A PBJ would be expungable three (3) years after the end of the probationary sentence.
What long term consequences could this have?
A second degree assault conviction could prohibit you from owning firearms in Maryland if you plead guilty, until the case was expunged. If you receive a "PBJ" on your assault case, you would be able to own firearms.
A Maryland Assault conviction could carry additional long term consequences if it was marked "domestically related". A person convicted of a domestically marked assault in the second degree is prohibited from possessing a firearm, regardless of whether or not they received a "PBJ". Many first offenders do not know the long term ramifications of an assault conviction, which gives rise to gun charges.
Many assault defendants are placed on "supervised probation", which can have additional terms that a person has to follow including:
- Random drug screening
- Must be employed or in school
- Home visits
- No access to firearms
- Must complete an abuser intervention program
- Must participate in mental health treatment
- Must stay away from the "victim"
- Comply with a Protective Order
What if I have both first and second degree assault charges?
If you've been charged with both first and second degree assault, then you likely have a preliminary hearing scheduled.
This hearing will determine if there is probable cause for the felony charge you have, and if the State wants to proceed with an indictment to the Circuit Court.
What is a First Degree Assault in Maryland?
First-degree assault in Maryland is considered a felony and is defined under the Maryland Criminal Code, Section 3-202. It involves intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another person. "Serious physical injury" is generally interpreted as harm that creates a substantial risk of death or causes permanent or protracted serious disfigurement, loss of the function of any bodily organ or member, or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or member.
This crime also includes assault with a firearm, including handguns, antique firearms, rifles, shotguns, short-barreled rifles or shotguns, or any other firearm, whether loaded or unloaded.
The punishment for first-degree assault in Maryland is severe, with offenders potentially facing up to 25 years in prison. It's crucial to note that this charge depends on the intention of the perpetrator and the severity of the injury inflicted or could have been inflicted, not merely the act of violence itself.
Given the severity of these charges, anyone accused of first-degree assault in Maryland should seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure their rights are protected and they are given a fair trial.
What is the difference between first degree and second degree assualt in Maryland?
In Maryland, the difference between first and second degree assault is one of degree and intent. The main differences pertain to the intent of the perpetrator and the severity of the injury caused or intended to be caused by the perpetrator's actions.
First-degree assault, classified as a felony, involves intentionally causing or attempting to cause "serious physical injury" to another person. Second-degree assault, on the other hand, is a less serious crime which can include a battery or an intent to frighten.
Actions such as making a person flinch with the threat of physical contact, or any unconsented touching of another person, could fall under this category. Second-degree assault is generally a misdemeanor in Maryland, although some specific instances can be treated as felonies. The maximum penalty is typically ten years of imprisonment and/or a fine.
In summary, the degree of assault is primarily based on the extent of harm intended or caused and the means by which the injury is caused (weapons, strangulation, etc.).
How do I get second degree assault charges dropped in Maryland?
In Maryland, getting assault charges dropped involves several legal strategies, each dependent on the specifics of the case.
Legal Representation: First, hire a competent criminal defense attorney. They understand the state laws and court procedures, and can help navigate through the complex legal system.
Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Your attorney will review your case, gather evidence, and identify any inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution's case. This can include proving that you were not at the scene of the crime, demonstrating that the evidence against you was illegally obtained, or arguing that you were acting in self-defense.
Victim's Decision: If the victim decides not to cooperate with the prosecution, it could lead to charges being dropped. However, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the prosecutor and not the victim.
Negotiations: In some cases, the prosecutor might agree to drop the charges in exchange for certain actions by the Defendant, or place the matter on the STET docket.
Diversion Programs: For first-time offenders or minor offenses, the court might allow participation in a diversion program, which can lead to charges being dropped upon successful completion.
Remember, the outcome of an assault case depends largely on the specific circumstances and evidence. It is essential to consult with a lawyer to understand your options and potential defenses.
Speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney today
The most important thing you can do if you're charged with your 2nd degree assault maryland first offense
is to speak with an experienced second degree assault attorney. Max Frizalone and Luke Woods have years of experience handling assault second degree cases of every type. We are more than happy to provide a free consultation regarding your case, put our expertise to work for you.
Whether your case is in Frederick County, Prince George's County, Howard County, Baltimore County, or Anne Arundel County, we can help fight your charges. Max Frizalone is a former assistant states attorney in Prince George's county, and he can help with any first degree assault or second degree assault charge. If you have any questions about your 2nd degree assault maryland first offense, give us a call today.
My daughter was in need of legal representation and I contacted the Frizwoods law firm. Max Frizalone contacted us immediately. Throughout the ordeal he was not only professional, knowledgeable and skilled but he was also very caring and compassionate which helped my daughter a great deal. Ultimately the case was dismissed and her record will be completely cleared. If this sounds like the kind of legal help your looking for call Max.