Analyzing 3 Different Assault Crimes Under Maryland Law
Assault is one of the most common violent crimes under the Maryland Code of Criminal Law. Though unlike other jurisdictions, Maryland uses the term Aassault@ to refer to the common law versions of assault, battery, and a combination of both offenses.
At common law, assault occurs when a person intentionally creates a fear of harmful or offensive contact. Whereas, battery occurs when a person intentionally makes contact with a victim in a harmful or offensive manner.
Although Maryland adheres to the common law definitions, it does not differentiate between assault and battery. Instead, there are three different versions of assault that change based on the circumstances of the offense.
- Misdemeanor Assault in the Second Degree
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-203 makes it unlawful to commit any form of assault. This is referred to as misdemeanor assault in the second degree, though as noted above, this means it is also unlawful to commit battery or assault and battery.
Under Section 3-203, any person who commits misdemeanor assault in the second degree can face a maximum of 10 years in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines, either or both.
- Felony Assault in the Second Degree
Section 3-203 also establishes the Maryland laws against felony assault in the second degree. This offense applies to any assault where the perpetrator intentionally inflicts physical injury, knowing or having a reason to know that the victim is a:
- Law enforcement officer who is performing their official duties;
- Parole or probation agent who is performing their official duties; or
- Firefighter, paramedic, or similar first responder who is performing their official duties.
It is worth noting that Maryland law includes within the definition of a Alaw enforcement officer@ the following:
- Correctional officers at correctional facilities; and
- Members of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) police.
Under Section 3-203, any person who commits felony assault in the second degree can face a maximum of 10 years in prison and $5,000 in criminal fines, either or both.
- Felony Assault in the First Degree
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-202 prohibits any person from intentionally:
- Causing serious physical injury to a victim in the commission of an assault crime;
- Using a firearm in the commission of an assault crime; or
- Strangling a victim in the commission of an assault crime.
It is important to note that Maryland law defines the term Aserious physical injury@ as any injury that:
- Creates a severe risk of death;
- Causes permanent disfigurement;
- Leads to permanent loss of function of any body part; or
- Results in permanent impairment of any body part.
Under Section 3-202, any person who commits felony assault in the first degree can face a maximum of 25 years in prison and criminal fines, either or both.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. Reach out to the Bel Air violent crimes attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered for a consultation.