Maryland has many assault statutes. They range from misdemeanors and felonies. These statutes cover many types of conduct. Intentionally touching the victim in a way that causes injury is considered assault. This includes battery and assault. (Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-201) A first degree assault is one that causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person or involves the use of a firearm. (Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-202).
All other forms of assault fall under the second-degree category. This means that any act of harmful touching is considered second-degree assault. It does not include situations such as death, permanent or prolonged injury, disfigurement, loss or impairment of any organ or body part. This is a very broad definition. It could apply to any type of offensive or harmful touching, or touching that a person knows is unwelcome.
Legal Standard for Second Degree Assault
Although assault in the second degree may not be as severe as assault in its first degree, it is still a serious offense. Assault in the second degree is usually a misdemeanor. It can lead to up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,500. The crime of assault in the second degree is committed if the victim is a probation officer, parole officer or law enforcement officer who is acting within their official duties. The maximum penalty for such cases is $5,000, and the defendant could still be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. (Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-203).
Intentional touching is required for assault. If a person starts an action or course that is likely to cause injury, the statute applies. It does not matter if the touching done is different from what was intended. If you are going to punch someone in their jaw but he ducks and gets hit in the eye, it is still an assault charge. It doesn’t have to be intended to cause the injury.
A person can assert any defense that is recognized by law in his case. Self-defense is one of the most popular defenses in assault cases. A person can use reasonable force to stop another person from hurting him if he believes he is in imminent physical danger. However, the force must be proportional. For example, you cannot use force to stop someone pushing you. You can still use reasonable force to subdue someone who attacks you.
Defense of others is another common defense. If a third person is threatened and you are allowed by law to defend yourself, you have the legal right to intervene to protect him. In such cases, the use of force must be reasonable and proportional. The victim and defendant can also jointly request the court to dismiss the charges. If the judge believes it to be “proper,” the judge will grant dismissal, although the defendant will still need to pay his court costs. (Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-207).
Sometimes, it is possible to reduce the charges by pledging guilty. The attorney might negotiate with the district attorney to drop the second-degree assault charge and instead plead to reckless endangerment which is a less serious offense. Second Degree Assault Maryland