Have you been charged with assault in Maryland or do you have questions about the assault & battery laws? Criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice explains everything you need to know about assault (1st & 2nd degree) below. Keep reading to learn more and how a lawyer may help defend your rights and freedom.
If you are searching for a lawyer to defend you or a loved one against assault charges, call the office today at 410.288.2900 or visit our contact page for email options.
What are the different types of assault and battery crimes in Maryland?
There are two main types of assault crimes one may be charged with under Maryland criminal law:
Second degree assault on a police officer (this only applies if there is serious injury to the officer)
Reckless endangerment, though not considered assault, is conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. It is not necessary for the state to prove the defendant had the intention to do harm, but acted in careless disregard.
If you’ve been charged with assault, there is likely a defense to the crime. Maryland assault lawyer Randolph Rice has defended hundreds of clients charged with first and second degree assault in Maryland. He’s used such defenses as “self defense” and “defense of others” to help his clients in court.
The goal in almost every case is to avoid jail, fines and probation by winning with a “not guilty” verdict. Usually assault cases requires the victim to testify. The court will need to determine the credibility of that witness.
Since assault charges are very technical and rely on substantial evidence to prove, there are various defenses that can be presented to increase the likelihood of success at trial.
Maryland residents and individuals charged in Maryland with assault have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions and answers we hear from our clients:
If you are charged with assault in Maryland, there are a number of steps you should take to protect your legal rights.
If you have been charged with assault, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at 410.288.2900 to schedule a free consultation.
First degree assault is a crime where the state alleges the defendant intentionally or attempted to cause serious physical injury to another person. It is considered a first degree assault any time a firearm is used in an assault.
First degree assault is defined as a felony in Maryland.
The maximum penalty if you are convicted of first degree assault in Maryland is twenty-five (25) years of jail time.
The crime of first degree assault can be found under Maryland Criminal Law 3-202.
Since 1st degree assault is classified as a felony in Maryland, there is no statute of limitations. That means the State may charge the defendant at any time during the life of the defendant.
Assault in the second degree is one of two variations of assault a person can be charged with in Maryland. It is the less serious of the assault crimes in Maryland.
It is essentially the unlawful touching of another person. That means, if charged with assault in the second degree, the State is alleging the defendant touched, hit, or attempted to touch or hit another person
Second degree assault is a felony in Maryland if the victim is a police officer and there is serious physical injury suffered by the law enforcement officer. Otherwise, second degree assault is not a felony in Maryland and is classified as a misdemeanor.
Related Reading: Is spitting on someone an assault?
The maximum penalty, if convicted, for second degree assault in Maryland is ten (10) years. It is possible that an individual that is convicted of 2nd degree assault can go to jail, even if the individual has no prior criminal record. The judge will evaluate the facts of the case and the severity of any injuries and determine if jail is appropriate.
When using the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines, for a first offense 2nd degree assault, with injury, the guidelines are probation to six (6) months. This does not mean a defendant will receive a sentence within the guidelines; a Judge may exceed that suggestion and sentence the defendant to more time. Also, these guidelines are not used in District Court matters, only in Circuit Court cases.
The maximum fine if convicted of 2nd-degree assault in Maryland is $5,000.00.
The crime of second degree assault is defined under Maryland Criminal Law Article 3-203.
The maximum penalty if convicted of second degree assault on a law enforcement officer or police officer in Maryland is ten (10) years.
The maximum fine if convicted of 2nd-degree assault of a law enforcement officer is $5,000.00.
The crime of second degree assault on a law enforcement officer can be found under Maryland Criminal Law 3-203(c).
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for second degree assault is one year. Since 2nd degree assault is classified as a misdemeanor, then the State has one one year from the date of the alleged assault to charge the defendant. However, if it is alleged that the defendant assaulted a law enforcement officer, and thus a felony, then the statute of limitations is the life of the defendant. In other words, there is no statute of limitations.
View attorney Randolph Rice speak about 2nd Degree Assault in Maryland
It may be tempting to tell your side of the altercation to law enforcement officers during an arrest. Remember that using your right to remain silent until legal counsel arrives may help you in the long run. Any time a person is arrested and charged with assault it is critical that they obtain help from an experienced criminal defense attorney, like Randolph Rice, right away. The right attorney will guide you through the legal process and work to create the best possible results.
While they are certainly consequences that can come from the court and the imposition of probation, fines and court costs, there are also collateral consequences that may affect an individual if found guilty of second-degree assault.
In Maryland, one of the particular consequences of a conviction for assault could mean deportation if the defendant is not a U.S. citizen. Any individual that is facing criminal charges in Maryland should speak with an immigration lawyer to determine the immigration consequences if convicted.
Another consequence of a second degree assault conviction maybe the end of eligibility for public funds, welfare benefits or Social Security. Convictions may affect an individual’s chances of receiving funding from the government.
Individuals that are charged with any offense or criminal charges in Maryland should speak to a social security or disability lawyer before they make a decision and their case.
Another consequence of being charged with second-degree assault in Maryland is the social stigma that may come with a conviction. As in any criminal case, an individual has many options when deciding how to proceed.
The two most important decisions, if the state is pursuing the charges, is to decide if you will be pleading guilty or pleading not guilty. By pleading guilty, it is the highest form of self-incrimination, and you are essentially telling the court that you committed the crime.
Even though you may plead guilty, this may not result in a conviction. In Maryland the judges do have the ability to strike the guilty finding and enter a probation before judgement or PBJ. This means you are not convicted and are placed on probation.
The benefits of a PBJ are the ability to expunge a criminal record down the road. However, if an individual decides to plead guilty and the court ultimately finds a defendant guilty and does not grant a probation before judgement, the individual must wait 15 years before filing an expungement of the second degree assault charge.
A conviction of assault can affect your current or future employment. Most employers conduct a background check during the interview process and screening of all applicants. Many employers will not hire an individual who has been found guilty of second-degree assault.
There’s also the possibility of incarceration as a consequence of being charged and convicted of second-degree assault in Maryland. While each case is different, there is the real possibility that an individual may be facing jail time if they are convicted of assault in the second degree.
Every individual charged with second-degree assault is facing the potential of jail time. However, each case is different and only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise if jail time is a possibility in your case.
We have had cases in the past where individuals have been charged with second-degree assault and received a probation before judgement or found not guilty. In the most unfortunate cases the clients have been incarcerated for a period of time.
We have seen in the past that clients have received minimal jail sentences of days and weeks but we’ve also seen clients who been sentenced to multiple years in the Department of Corrections for second degree assault.
There are many factors that a judge will consider when sentencing and determining if jails appropriate. Those factors may include the severity of the crime, the injuries to the victim, the criminal record of the defendant and the recommendation from the State’s Attorney’s office.
There is no typical sentence for a second degree assault charge in Maryland. Each case is different, and as mentioned before, is up to the sentencing judge to decide the appropriate penalty and punishment for a second degree assault conviction.
It is certainly possible that an individual will get jail time for second-degree assault but it is also possible that the court will grant a probation before judgement and the defendant will be spared jail time.
When you call you will be able to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation with the owner and former Assistant State’s Attorney Randolph Rice.
The act of assaulting another person in the state of Maryland can be charged as EITHER a felony or misdemeanor depending on the severity and evidence of the case.
Reckless Endangerment in Maryland is classified as a misdemeanor.
The maximum penalty, if convicted, for reckless endangerment in Maryland is five (5) years.
The crime of reckless endangerment is defined in Maryland Criminal Law 3-204.
Recommended Reading: Reckless Endangerment Laws and Lawyers in Maryland
In addition to facing possible time in jail or prison, District Court and Circuit Court Judges in the state of Maryland can place you on a period of probation from One (1) day to Five (5) years (maximum period of probation for District Court is limited to 3 years).
Probation may require you to check-in with a Maryland Parole and Probation agent daily, weekly, monthly or on a bi-monthly basis.
Probation may also be supervised or unsupervised and that will be decided by the Judge that the case is heard before. Supervised probation requires your presence at one of the many parole and probation offices located around the state of Maryland.
Limited probation or unsupervised probation may only require an occasional phone call to a probation agent or no contact at all with parole and probation.
1st (First) and 2nd (Second) degree assault cases can be complicated and difficult to litigate and defend. 1st and 2nd degree Assault charges are strongly pursued by law enforcement and the state’s attorney for the jurisdiction in which the crime allegedly occurred.
Particularly in cases that involve domestic violence, meaning the assault occurred with an underlying relationship between the victim and the accused assailant.
If you have been charged or arrested with 1st or 2nd degree Assault in Maryland, you need an experienced, skilled, trusted, and knowledgeable assault criminal defense attorney.
Without the assistance and help of an experienced attorney, you have little chance of winning your case if it goes to trial.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we will conduct a thorough investigation of your case. We have the ability to investigate the witnesses and victims of each assault case in Maryland.
Our office will subpoena and summons the needed witnesses to best defend your case. We will formulate the most appropriate argument for your assault defense and ensure that the Judge or jury hear the facts as they really happened.
Often, the law enforcement agencies or States Attorney’s office for the county you are charged in will overlook an aspect of the case, if this happen, we will find other witnesses or evidence to present to the Court or state’s attorney’s office to support your case. We will work with you and fight for your rights and freedom.
Don’t Go to Court Alone. A criminal conviction can affect the rest of your life. You could spend years in jail, pay expensive fines,
Court costs and regret not having a professional and experienced assault defense attorney advising you on the best decisions in your criminal case.
Call Attorney Randolph Rice at 410.288.2900 to schedule a FREE criminal defense consultation. We have years of experience and have helped thousands of client, let our experience got to work for you in the Courtroom.
If you need assault lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland or anywhere in Maryland, contact our office today to schedule a consultation and to discuss all possible defenses.
If you’ve been charged with assault in Maryland, you should consult and retain and experienced Maryland assault lawyer.
Most individuals charged with assault in Maryland have questions about the trial. If charged with second-degree assault in Maryland, the trial date will be scheduled in one of the District Courts for the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.
The clerk’s offices will set the trial date between 30 and 90 days after the alleged event in a District Court. Unlike what is seen on TV, most prosecutors will not decide what they want to do with a misdemeanor second-degree assault charges prior to the trial date.
This is because the prosecutor or State’s Attorney in the case typically likes to talk to the victim who is alleged to have been assaulted. Oftentimes a prosecutor will want to speak in person to the alleged victim and get a feel for the allegations and the evidence they may testify to at trial.
When approaching the trial date for a second degree assault charge in Maryland, it is not uncommon to not know what will happen until you arrive at court. Your lawyer will certainly prepare for all potential outcomes, including trial.
However, there is an exception to every rule. In serious cases or complicated cases the prosecutor may try to make a decision prior to the trial date. The prosecutor and the defense attorney we’ll talk or meet prior to the trial day to determine the direction of the case.
Obviously, the defense attorney is trying to have the charges dropped or nolle prosequi. Or the defense attorney is trying to convince the state’s attorney to enter a stet.
In a some cases, the attorney may be attempting to negotiate a plea or preparing for a trial before a district court judge.
Because the maximum penalty for 2nd degree assault is 10 years, which is greater than 90 days, and the requirement to elect a jury trial, any individual charged with second-degree assault in Maryland has a right to a trial by jury.
If the defendant elects a jury trial, then the case will be forwarded to the Circuit Court for a trial date.
If an individual is charged with first-degree assault, more likely than not the case will be set in for a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary hearing may not occur depending on the State’s Attorney’s office and their desire to take the case before a grand jury. In any criminal case charged in Maryland, if a felony is charged than a defendant has a right to a preliminary hearing.
However, the State may choose to pull the case and take it before a grand jury to determine probable cause. The defendant does not have a right to stop the State from taking the case before the grand jury.
If you’re facing assault charges in Maryland, contact attorney Randolph Rice today to discuss your case.
It’s not the type of charge that you must look at when determining if second degree assault can be expunged in Maryland, but rather the outcome is the first step.
If you’re trying to expunge a second degree assault you first must look at the disposition for that charge and all of the charges that are associated with it.
For example, if you were charged with three separate counts and assault in the second degree was one of them, then you must look at the other two counts and their disposition to determine if second degree assault can be expunged.
If all of the counts were nolle prosequi, or dismissed, then you can expunge the record as well as the second degree assault.
If the assault charge, along with all other charges were marked Stet then you can have the second degree assault expunged but you must wait 3 years since the disposition and there cannot be any pending criminal charges against you.
This is all about to change October 1, 2017. Starting October 1, 2017 guilty dispositions for second degree assault will be eligible for expungement.
However, there are exceptions to the rule.Maryland Criminal Law 3-203 (Second Degree Assault) will be eligible for expungement under Criminal Procedure 10-110 starting October 1st 2017.
The timing to file an expungement of the second degree assault is 15 years after the case is resolved including parole, probation or any mandatory supervision.
That means you must wait 15 years from the end of the supervision, whether it was supervised or unsupervised. If the assault charges that you were found guilty of were marked as domestically related under Criminal Procedure 6-233 then you must wait 15 years after the conviction as well as the completion of parole, probation or mandatory supervision.
If you were convicted of a new crime during the past fifteen years, then the original second degree assault is not eligible for expungement unless the new conviction becomes eligible to be expunged.
Also, if there are pending criminal charges against you, then you are not eligible to expunge the second degree assault.
If you have been charged with assault in Maryland, speak with attorney Randolph Rice today.