For over 11 years, Baltimore assault attorney Randolph Rice has defended individuals charged with crimes throughout Maryland including misdemeanor assault and felony assault charges. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, their assault lawyers fight for the rights of their clients when facing serious assault charges by keeping their clients informed of possible consequences and leading them through the tough decisions that must be made in their assault case.
If you been accused of assault, either a first-degree assault or second-degree assault, you may feel like the charges are one-sided. The police have told their story and written their police reports based on what the alleged victim stated. However, you were unable to tell your side of the story or present the full facts of what happened. The assault attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice are not scared by the police or taking your case to trial. We work tirelessly for our clients, ensuring that their side of the story is hurt.
Whether you’re charged with assault 2nd degree or assault 1st degree, we will ensure that you receive the best legal defenses in Maryland. An assault conviction could mean jail time, stiff fines and lengthy probation. Don’t take chances with your future, talk to our top Baltimore assault attorneys today by calling the office 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Common Types of Assault Charges in Baltimore, MD
Assault in Maryland is the offensive physical contact with another person. That contact may be direct an attempted contact with another person.
Assault charges can happen in various circumstances including:
- Domestic violence setting;
- Bar brawls;
- Orioles or Ravens games;
- Parking lots
- Arguments at work
- Disputes in public places;
- Disagreements between friends in private settings.
Maryland assault laws are contained in the Maryland Criminal Law Code:
- First Degree Assault CR 3-202
- Second Degree Assault CR 3-203
Classification of First and Second Degree Assault in Maryland
In Maryland, assault is defined as the offensive touching of another individual. That touching has to be intentional and not accidental. A person can also be charged with assault if they attempt to make contact with another person or make that other person believe they are going to be assaulted.
First Degree Assault
For a person to be convicted of first-degree assault in Maryland, the State must prove all the elements of second-degree assault and that the defendant used a firearm or the assault intended to cause serious physical injury to the victim. Maryland first degree assault laws are very specific and the State must cross a high hurdle to convict an individual of first-degree assault.
Second Degree Assault
Second-degree assault in Maryland can be proven under one of three theories by the State. Those theories of second-degree assault in Maryland are:
- Intent to frighten;
- Attempted battery; and
Intent to Frighten
For the state to prove an assault under the intent to frighten of the Maryland assault laws, these elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant committed an act with the intent to place the victim in fear of immediate offensive physical contact or physical harm;
- The defendant had the apparent ability, at that time, to bring about offensive physical contact or physical harm; and
- The victim reasonably feared immediate offensive physical contact or physical harm; and
- The defendant’s actions were not legally justified.
A Maryland assault lawyer can show that the acts were unintentional or the victim did not actually fear the acts by the defendant in the assault case.
If the State chooses to pursue assault charges in Maryland for attempted battery, then they must show beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant actually tried to cause immediate offensive physical contact with or physical harm to the victim;
- The defendant intended to bring about offensive physical contact or physical harm; and
- The defendant’s actions were not consented to by the victim or not legally justified.
And finally, if the State tries to convict a person of second-degree assault under the battery theory, they must prove:
- The defendant caused offensive physical contact with or physical harm to the victim;
- The contact was the result of an intentional or reckless act of the defendant and was not accidental; and
- The contact was not consented to by the victim or not legally justified.
Reckless endangerment, although may not require contact or the same types of facts for an assault in Maryland does have serious penalties if convicted. For the State to succeed on reckless endangerment charges, they must prove the defendant engaged in conduct that created a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another or the defendant discharged a firearm from a motor vehicle in a manner that created a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person in Maryland.
Domestic violence cases involving assault are some of the most commonly seen in the Maryland court system. Domestic violence is typically defined as an assault between individuals that know each other or have some sort of relationship.
This can range anywhere from husband and wife, husband and husband, wife on wife assault, or an assault involving individuals that have a sexual relationship or children in common. These state text particular attention to domestic violence assault cases because of the nature of the relationship.
The state believes that since there is a prior relationship between the parties, it is likely in the future that they will have contact again. Therefore, the state will prosecute domestic violence cases stronger than they typically do other non-domestic violence assault cases.
A domestic violence case is not an assault in a bar brawl or a fight at a Ravens game between individuals that do not know each other. Even though these are not classified as domestic violence, they are still very serious and the state’s attorney will prosecute to the full extent of the law.
Misdemeanor Assault in Maryland
In Maryland, under Maryland Criminal Code 3-203, a person can be charged with misdemeanor second-degree assault if they make offensive physical contact with another person. Also, a person can be charged with second-degree assault misdemeanor if it is alleged you attempted to assault an individual or you frightened an individual to the point of believing they would be assaulted.
Penalty and Punishment for Assault in Maryland
What is the penalty for assault in Maryland? It depends on the charges and the facts of the case. For a second degree assault, which is a misdemeanor, the penalty is 10 year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. If alleged the defendant assaulted a law enforcement officer in the second degree, the person is facing a felony and 10 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Speak with a Maryland assault lawyer today to determine if you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor assault in Maryland.
First-degree assault, being a felony, if convicted, a person is facing a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail. Felony and misdemeanor convictions can make getting a job difficult and prevent a person from obtaining other services based on a conviction.
How Assault Can Be Defended
While there are many defenses on the Maryland rules, they’re also general defenses that can be asserted if charged with assault in Maryland. There is the opportunity at trial to confront the witnesses and discredit their testimony.
If a judge or jury does not believe a witness or victim, that may negatively affect the state’s case and prevent them from finding you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition to credibility issues during trial, there is also the possibility of self-defense and defense of others if charged with assault.
There are various defenses to assault in Maryland. They include:
- Defense of others
- Defense of habitation – deadly force
- Defense of property – non-deadly force
If you believe you have been charged with assault incorrectly and you had a defense or reason to commit the assault, contact the Maryland Assault lawyer Randolph Rice to discuss your options in Maryland. Self-defense assault is one of the most common types of defenses used in Maryland. For a defendant to assert self-defense, the defendant must show that he/she was not the aggressor. The defendant must also show that he believed he was in immediate and imminent danger of bodily harm. Also, the defendant must prove that his self-defense was reasonable and not use any more force than reasonably necessary in light of the threat.
As the character “Ace” said about Nicky in the Movie Casino, “No matter how big a guy might be, Nicky would take him on. You beat Nicky with fists, he comes back with a bat. You beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun. And you beat him with a gun, you better kill him, because he’ll keep comin’ back and back until one of you is dead.”
For self-defense in Maryland, you can’t come back with a bat if the person you are defending yourself from is using their fists.
Common Questions about Assault Charges in Maryland
If you’re facing criminal assault charges in Maryland, then you have a lot of questions. Below are some of the most common questions we hear from clients charged with first and second-degree assault in Maryland.
Can an Assault Victim Drop the Charges?
No, only the state’s attorney can dismiss or nolle prosequi assault charges once they have been filed. Once assault charges are filed in Maryland, they are picked up by the state and the state is the moving party. The state will look to the victim in terms of the direction of the case, but if the assault is serious enough for the defendant has a checkered past, the state will typically not outright drop the charges.
Can I Get an Assault Expunged from My Criminal Record?
It depends on the outcome in your assault case, the chargers can be expunged depending on the disposition by the court. For example, if the case was dismissed, nolle prosequi, or resulted in an acquittal the charges can be expunged immediately.
If the assault resulted in probation before judgment, PBJ, then the charges of assault can be expunged after 3 years for the date of disposition. The same rule applies for a stet, the individual must wait three years from the entering of the STET to have the assault expunged.
Starting October 1st, 2017, there is a new Maryland expungement law going into effect that will allow your expungement attorney to remove guilty findings for assault after a 10-year period. An exception to the rule involves cases of domestic violence. If the assault charges were marked domestic violence-related did the charges of guilty for a second-degree assault cannot be expunged until 15 years after the disposition.
If you or someone you know is facing a misdemeanor or felony assault charge in Maryland, contact the top Baltimore and Maryland criminal attorney Randolph Rice for a free consultation. Mr. Rice will give your case a full evaluation and discuss all options with you, as well as discuss possible defenses and how his office can defend your rights and freedom. He has multiple offices throughout the Baltimore metro area, located at 6914 Holabird Avenue, Baltimore Maryland 21222. He also has an office in Lutherville Maryland at 1301 York Road, Suite 2, Timonium Maryland 21093 as well as an office in Ellicott City in Howard County.
Our Baltimore, MD Assault Defense Attorneys Can Help
It’s not uncommon for a night of drinking or the use of drugs to lead to an assault charge. We understand people make mistakes and that in the heat of the moment or when tempers flare individuals may lash out at others. Assault charges are serious and you need a good lawyer to defend you in court. Most people don’t realize how serious the charges are until they appear in court and it’s too late. It’s important to keep in mind that in the district court, the first date is often your trial date and you may not receive a postponement.
If that’s the case, you may be forced to trial or to accept a plea that could reflect you negatively for the rest of your life. Because assault 2nd degree carries the possibility of a sentence greater than 90 days, individuals charged are entitled to a jury trial. The decision to elect a jury trial should not be made lightly as there are opportunities to try a case for a judge in the district court which may benefit your case.
Contact the office today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your assault charges in Maryland. Is a loved one facing a bench warrant or bail review for assault charges, we can help.