Assault is one of the most common violent crimes committed in Maryland. Charges for first degree assault are the most serious and are typically charged under Md. Code, Criminal Law § 3-202. If you or a loved one is facing charges for assault in the first degree, contact a lawyer immediately for help with your case.
The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s Baltimore lawyer for first degree assault charges may be able to take your case and fight the charges against you. For a free legal consultation and help understanding the potential penalties and legal options involved in your assault case, contact our lawyers today to schedule a free legal consultation. Our number is (410) 694-7291.
Definition of Assault in the First Degree Under Md. Code § 3-202
Assault is typically defined as intentionally striking or injuring another person without their consent. Maryland law uses this same basic definition, but it includes an attempt to injure someone as full-fledged assault as well, not “attempted assault.” Other states might call this crime “aggravated assault,” but Maryland merely uses a different name to describe essentially the same offense.
Assault in the first degree is the most serious form of assault and typically refers to assault that involves “serious physical injury.” Once again, the injury does not have to actually result under the language of § 3-202, since an attempt to cause such injuries can also count as assault in the first degree. This means that failed attempts to injure are also included as completed offenses.
Even if there is no serious bodily injury, assault charges can be upgraded to first degree assault if the actor uses a firearm to commit the assault. This includes many legal firearms, such as handguns, rifles, and shotguns, as well as illegal or heavily regulated firearms like sawed-off shotguns or machine guns. This means that, since attempted injury counts as assault, intentionally firing a gun toward someone would generally count as first degree assault, even if you miss or fail to cause “serious physical injury.”
“Serious physical injury” is specifically defined in Md. Code, Criminal Law § 3-201(d) to include very severe injuries. Under this definition, serious physical injury includes injuries that cause a “substantial risk of death,” “disfigurement,” amputation, loss of an organ, or “impairment” in a body part or organ. This means that superficial wounds without serious scarring would not be considered serious physical injury. However, the definition of this crime is based on the actor’s intent to cause serious physical injury, not the outcome; just because the victim was lucky enough to walk away with lesser injuries does not necessarily lower the charges to a lesser form of assault.
Penalties for First Degree Assault Under § 3-202
First degree assault is a very serious felony. Essentially, charges for assault in the first degree are on the verge of becoming attempted murder charges, and, as such, they carry high fines and potentially long jail terms. For a conviction of assault in the first degree under Md. Code § 3-202, you could face a felony conviction with up to 25 years in prison. In addition, you could face fines of around $5,000.
This 25-year sentence is the maximum sentence authorized under the law. This means that you might not always face exactly 25 years in prison, but it is common for defendants sentenced to such high penalties to serve at least some of that time in prison before being eligible for parole. Especially since this offense is a felony, it is unlikely that you would be able to avoid jail time if convicted.
In addition to the official criminal penalties, most felony convictions come with other penalties, both legal and societal. First, a felony conviction typically means you can no longer own a firearm, and it may interfere with your right to vote, child custody, and your ability to keep your job. Although mandatory background checks are not typically allowed in Baltimore, surrounding towns and cities, as well as certain jobs and professional licensing organizations, may immediately disqualify you for a position or certification if you have a felony conviction on your record. If you are a non-citizen or permanent resident, facing a felony conviction may also flag you for deportation or other legal issues.
If you or a loved one was charged with assault or assault in the first degree, it is vital to work with an attorney. Your lawyer might be able to get evidence and arrests suppressed, which can make it harder or impossible for prosecutors to prove you committed the crime. In addition, we can challenge each element of the crime and force the government to prove the elements beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. We may also be able to negotiate reduced charges and sentences or plea agreements to help keep you from a conviction and potentially keep you out of jail if the charges can be dropped or reduced.
Call Our Baltimore Assault Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation
Charges for assault in the first degree can put a substantial strain on your life and potentially put you in jail for a long time. For help fighting these charges, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s Baltimore lawyer for assault in the first degree charges may be able to take your case and fight to protect your rights and get charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed. For a free legal consultation with our attorneys, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.