As an Uber or Lyft driver, you may have little protection from your passengers. Meeting strangers alone, potentially at night, and inviting them into your car can be dangerous, and many Uber and Lyft drivers care about their self-defense. If you were accused of assaulting a passenger in your car or starting a fight with an Uber or Lyft passenger, the accusation could hurt your career and livelihood could be at stake, and you may be tried and sent to jail. Many of the same issues are true for riders who may not trust their Uber or Lyft driver to keep them safe.
For help with your assault charges, call the Baltimore Uber and Lyft assault defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. Our experienced criminal defense and assault attorney can help fight to get your charges dropped and dismissed and work to keep you out of jail. To set up a free legal consultation on your assault charges, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.
Criminal Charges for Assault as an Uber or Lyft Driver
Charges for assault in Maryland typically come under a very broad definition of assault. Maryland law defines assault as an attempt to cause injury to someone else or actually causing injury. Since this definition is broad, it can encompass things like punches, strikes, or kicks as well as more serious injuries like a gunshot wound, blunt force trauma from a weapon, or even choking/strangulation injuries.
Charges for assault typically come under one of two statutes: MD Crim. Law Code § 3-202 and § 3-203. These separate assault into assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree. Other states use the terminology “aggravated assault” and “simple assault,” which loosely correlate to these names, respectively. The primary difference between these two types of assault is the amount of injury they cause, with first-degree assault involving “serious” physical injury as opposed to the general “physical injury” covered by the second-degree assault statute.
Penalties for Assault Charges in Maryland
The penalties you can face for assault depend heavily on the facts of the case. Typically, assault charges can result in fines and jail time for the offense, with maximums set by law. First-degree assault carries the highest penalties and is classified as a felony offense. This crime can yield up to 25 years in prison along with a substantial fine.
Second-degree assault can be graded as a misdemeanor or a felony, with felony charges issued for assault on a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or another emergency responder. This would set the charges as a felony with up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $5,000. Otherwise, second-degree assault is a misdemeanor with up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $2,500.
Defenses for Assault Charges in Baltimore, MD
If you were charged with assaulting a passenger while you worked as an Uber or Lyft driver, there are many potential ways to fight the charges. In many cases, assault charges are issued based on false accusations or misunderstandings, but it may mean having to take your case to court before you can get the charges dismissed. Our Baltimore assault defense lawyers explain some of the potential defenses you may be able to use in your case. It is always vital to work with an attorney who can analyze your case and determine what defenses are appropriate, so talk to one of our defense attorneys for help with the specific details of your case.
One common defense used in assault cases is the claim that any force you used was in self-defense or defense of another. Uber and Lyft drivers spend significant time alone on the road, and it is difficult to know what kind of person you’re picking up and what danger they could post to you. Many assaults by Uber or Lyft drivers are actually instances of self-defense where the driver worked to protect themselves from an aggravated passenger. If you use more force than necessary or you escalate to using a deadly weapon when they have no weapons, you may not be able to claim self-defense in your case.
Another defense is to claim provocation. This may not get your charges dropped, but it could potentially reduce the penalties you face. A provocation defense says that the actor was provoked into committing the crime by the kind of adequate provocation that would provoke any reasonable person. Some things are universally angering and irritating, and hitting someone after they provoke you may mean that penalties can be reduced if the provocation was severe enough to reduce your intent and culpability.
Another way that defendants commonly fight these kinds of charges is by challenging the factual accuracy. Some cases are completely unfounded, and thorough investigation should reveal that the assault never happened. Victims sometimes exaggerate or skew facts, especially if they received sub-par service or want to punish the driver for a perceived issue. In some cases, they may go so far as to make up a story about assault. This can be disproven by pointing to a lack of evidence of injury, showing inconsistencies in the victim’s story, or by presenting witness testimony that says there was no assault. If you have a security camera system in your car, you may also be able to use that recording to defend yourself against these claims.
Call Our Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyers for Uber or Lyft Assault Charges
If you or a loved one drives an Uber or Lyft and faced accusations of assault, contact the Baltimore Uber and Lyft assault defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. Our attorneys are available for a free consultation to help you understand the charges and potential penalties you face and how your case might proceed. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (410) 694-7291.