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2nd Degree Assault Maryland First Offense

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 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:

1. 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.

2. Will I go to jail?

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. 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

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.

3. 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.

4. 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

  1. Witness/Victim Statements
    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.

  2. Photographs
    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.

  3. 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.

5. How can we defend my 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.

6. Will this 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.

7. 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

Speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney today

The most important thing you can do if you're charged with your first assault in the second degree 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.