Assault is defined in Maryland as the act of inflicting unwanted physical contact or physical harm upon another person or threatening or attempting to inflict unwanted physical contact or physical harm. This is a common charge filed against college students who get in trouble for fighting or other altercations. Students at Loyola University may find themselves facing these kinds of charges after a bad night out or a stressful confrontation. What should they do next?
If you or someone you know is a Loyola University student who has had assault charges filed against them, get in touch with a lawyer at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice promptly. Our assault defense attorneys for Loyola students provide professionalism and experienced service to all of their clients. Connect with them today by calling (410) 694-7291.
Defining the Crime of Assault in Maryland
Attempting to injure another person or merely threatening to injure another person is the simple definition of assault. No contact with the victim of assault is necessary for it to be considered assault. However, there must be an act that makes the threat of physical harm possible and imminent. For example, threatening words must be backed up by actions that put the victim in harm’s way in order to be considered assault.
There are two types of assault in Maryland: first- and second-degree assault. They differ based on the severity of the assault. First-degree assault is when someone attempts to cause or does cause serious physical injury to someone else. First-degree assault typically includes cases involving assault committed using a firearm (a handgun, assault pistol, shotgun, rifle, or machine gun), regardless of whether serious physical injury occurred or not. First-degree assault is a felony.
Second-degree assault happens when someone attempts to cause or does cause physical injury to someone else. “Physical injury” is defined to include essentially any injury beyond “minor injuries.” Second-degree assault is usually a misdemeanor, but the crime can be upgraded to a felony under certain situations. Primarily, this includes assaults committed against an on-duty police officer, an emergency responder, or probation/parole officer.
“Assault and battery” are often grouped together as an offense. However, there are major differences between assault and battery that should be noted: the definition of assault includes the threat of physical harm, while battery is strictly defined to mean actual physical contact. In Maryland, these names are typically used for civil torts rather than crimes.
Penalties for First-Degree Assault and Second-Degree Assault in Maryland
The penalties for first-degree assault charges in Maryland include up to 25 years in prison. In addition, you can face fines up to around $5,000. A felony conviction often involves jail time, though parole may be offered to allow you to leave jail early if you can follow certain rules and procedures for supervision and prove you have a history of good behavior while serving your sentence.
The penalties for second-degree assault charges in Maryland include up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $2,500. This crime is typically a misdemeanor, but it can be upgraded to a felony offense with an upgraded fine of up to $5,000 if you assault a police officer, parole/probation officer, or emergency responder.
Common Defenses to Assault Charges in Maryland
A lawyer can assist a defendant with their first-degree or second-degree assault charges by forcing the government to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt and by negotiating penalties for their client.
A lawyer can also help craft a defense against the first-degree and second-degree assault charges. Possible defenses an attorney can use against their client’s criminal charges include the following:
- Self-defense – If the defendant only assaults someone else as a form of self-defense or defense of another, an attorney can help them use this to beat the charges. In order for the defense to be valid, the force the defendant used must have been proportional to the force used or threatened against them.
- No credible threat – If the assault could not have actually put the victim in fear of injury, then the elements of assault are not met and the charges should be dropped.
- Consent – If the victim consented to being hit, e.g., as part of a performance or demonstration, there is no crime.
- Mistaken identity – The mistaken identity defense is often helpful when it’s unclear who exactly was involved in the assault. It is often used in assaults that happen in bar fights or similar situations.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Assault Charges for Loyola University Students
Students attending Loyola University who face assault charges should seek legal help immediately to ensure that they are treated fairly and their rights are protected. An assault defense lawyer for Loyola students from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can help make sense of the charges against you and craft a defense to mitigate the penalties you face. To get in touch with our lawyers as soon as possible, call (410) 694-7291.