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Examining Assault Crimes in Maryland


This blog entry will provide an overview of three different kinds of assaults crimes under Maryland law: misdemeanor in the second degree, felony in the second degree and felony in the first degree.

  1. Second-Degree Misdemeanor Assault

The definition of the crime of assault appears in Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-201. Maryland employs a broad definition of assault, incorporating assault crimes, battery crimes and assault and battery crimes. This means that most unwelcome or harmful physical contact can qualify as second degree misdemeanor assault in Maryland.

Under Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-203, second-degree misdemeanor assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $2,500 in fines.

  1. Second-Degree Felony Assault

The definition of second-degree felony assault appears in Section 3-203. Essentially, it is illegal to intentionally injure a person employed in certain occupations. Second-degree felony assault occurs when a person intentionally causes a physical injury or impairment to:

  • Police officers or other law enforcement agents who are performing their official duties;
  • Parole or probation officers who are performing their official duties; or
  • Firefighters, paramedics or other first responders who are performing their official duties.

It is important to note that the term “physical injury” refers to any impairment of physical condition, although minor or slight injuries do not generally rise to the level of assault in Maryland.

Under Section 3-203, second-degree felony assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

  1. First-Degree Assault

The definition of first-degree assault appears in Maryland Criminal Code Section 3-202. There are two variations of this violent crime under Maryland law. The first variation makes it unlawful to intentionally inflict a serious physical injury to another person. It is also unlawful to try to inflict such an injury, even if the attempt is unsuccessful.

Under Section 3-201, there is a specific definition of the term “serious physical injury.” To qualify as a serious physical injury, the victim must have suffered a:

  • Substantial risk of death; or
  • Permanent or long-term disfigurement, disability or impairment.

The second variation makes it unlawful to commit assault with a firearm. Specifically, it is unlawful to commit an assault with:

  • Handguns, antique firearms, rifles, shotguns, short-barreled shotguns or short-barreled rifles, as defined in Maryland Criminal Code Section 4-201;
  • Assault pistols, as defined in Maryland Criminal Code Section 4-301;
  • Machine guns, as defined in Maryland Criminal Code Section 4-401;  and
  • Other regulated firearms, as defined in Maryland Public Safety Code Section 5-101.

Under Section 3-202, both variations of first-degree felony assault are punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have legal questions about assault crimes or other aspects of criminal law, it can be immensely valuable to sit down with an adept criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered in Bel Air, Maryland, have more than 55 years of combined legal experience in criminal defense, including the various types of assault crimes. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.



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