If you have been charged with second degree assault or are facing other types of assault charges in Baltimore, you are at risk of serious criminal penalties. You may be sentenced to prison, fined thousands of dollars, be placed on probation, and be ordered to pay restitution for medical bills and other expenses. Having a violent criminal record can also make it exceedingly difficult to find employment, creating long-term problems that affect your entire future.
You need counsel from an experienced assault defense lawyer like Randolph Rice, a former Assistant State’s Attorney who founded Rice, Murtha & Psoras more than a decade ago. An attorney can build a case against the prosecutor’s evidence, working to defend your freedom while protecting your constitutional rights. It may be possible to mitigate or even avoid penalties – but the longer you wait to seek counsel, the greater the challenges will become. For a free legal consultation with a Baltimore lawyer for second degree assault charges, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras online, or call today at (410) 694-7291.
What is Second Degree Assault in Maryland?
Every state has its own set of assault laws that are contained within the state’s criminal code. Maryland’s criminal laws create three different types of assault offenses under Title 3 (which broadly covers crimes against people), Subtitle 2 (which focuses on assault and related offenses, like reckless endangerment). Types of assault offenses in Maryland include assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and assault by inmate.
Each of these offenses has its own statute, its own legal definition, and its own set of criminal penalties. Assault in the second degree is defined under Section 3-203 of the Maryland Criminal Code.
The statute uses simple language, stating, “A person may not commit an assault.” But what constitutes an “assault”? The answer is located in Section 3-201, which legally defines an assault to include “the crimes of assault, battery, and assault and battery.” More generally, an assault is any intentional act or attempt to physically harm another person, though exceptions may arise pertaining to self-defense.
Is Second Degree Assault a Felony?
Maryland separates criminal offenses into misdemeanor and felony categories. Though both are serious, felonies are subject to higher maximum fines and in many cases, lengthier sentences. Felonies also carry a greater stigma, and having a felony record can make it extremely difficult to get hired for jobs, approved for loans, or take advantage of other opportunities in life.
Second degree assault is generally classified as a misdemeanor in Maryland. However, there is an exception. Second degree assault is a felony if both of the following apply:
- The victim of the assault was a police officer, parole agent, or probation agent.
- The assault occurred while the officer or agent was “engaged in the performance of… [his or her] official duties,” such as making an arrest or meeting with a parolee.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Assault in the Second Degree?
The penalties for second degree assault vary, depending on whether the offense is being charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. However, even misdemeanor penalties can be severe, exceeding those imposed for felonies in some states. When second degree assault is classified as a misdemeanor, the penalties can include a sentence of up to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $2,500. When classified as a felony, second degree assault is punishable by fines of up to $5,000, and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
As you probably noticed, the maximum sentence is the same regardless of whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor, which means it is urgent to treat assault charges seriously and get help from a qualified criminal lawyer right away. When it comes to second degree assault charges in Baltimore, there is no such thing as “just” a misdemeanor.
In addition to fines and prison time, the court may also order you to pay restitution, or compensation, to the victim of the assault. For example, you may be responsible for his or her medical costs.
Baltimore Defense Attorney for Second Degree Assault (Section 3-203)
Maryland has harsh assault laws. Even a misdemeanor assault charge is capable of sending you to prison for up to a decade. With such high stakes, it is in your best interests to hire a trusted assault lawyer to defend and advise you. An attorney can challenge the state’s case against you and fight to uphold your rights at every turn.
Get the skilled legal help you deserve if you or a family member has been arrested for second degree assault in Baltimore. To set up a free legal consultation with a second degree assault attorney, call Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291, or contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras online.