How Are Assault Charges Defined In The State Of Maryland?
Misdemeanor assault in Maryland has been merged with battery. There are three different ways that the state can prove a misdemeanor assault and that’s either a battery, which is an unconsented or offensive touching of another; an attempted battery; or intent to frighten, where you don’t actually need physical contact between the two parties. The defendant commits an act with the intent to place the victim in immediate physical harm and the victim is aware of that. Felony assault in the state of Maryland is serious physical injury to another or a misdemeanor assault with a firearm.
Does The Degree Of Injury An Alleged Victim Suffers Impact An Assault Charge?
The degree of injury can be the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor assault charge.
Does A Victim Actually Have To Be Injured For An Assault To Occur?
A victim does not have to be injured in order for an assault charge to occur. The intent to frighten is still second degree assault in the state of Maryland. There never has to be any actual touching between the parties for you to be convicted of assault under the intent to frighten theory.
What Penalties Or Sentencing Is There For Assault Convictions In Your State?
For a misdemeanor second degree assault, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and for a first-degree assault, the maximum penalty is 25 years in prison.
What Are The Potential Defenses Used In Assault Cases? Is Self-Defense Ever A Viable Defense?
Self-defense is a viable defense to assault. In the state of Maryland, you have the right to defend yourself. There could be an instance where you punched an individual in the face and you caused him to have a black eye. That would be an assault in the second degree unless that individual hits you first and you are able to use equal force to defend yourself. You cannot escalate the amount of force that the primary aggressor used. Another common defense is called mutual fray. That is a defense we use when both of the parties enter into a mutual agreement to fight and neither one can be labeled the primary aggressor.
If An Alleged Victim Retracts Their Statement Or No Longer Wants To Pursue the Case, Will It Be Dropped?
Once charges are officially filed, the state attorney’s office and the prosecutor have ultimate discretion. Prosecutors do take into account the victim’s wishes but there is never an automatic dismissal due to a victim recanting their testimony.
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