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What is the Difference Between Reckless Endangerment & Assault in Maryland?

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The Maryland Criminal Code makes it illegal for any person to engage in violent crime, such as reckless endangerment or assault. Even though these offenses have similarities, there are subtle differences between reckless endangerment and assault in the second or first degree.

Reckless Endangerment

Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 3-204 details the state laws against and penalties for reckless endangerment. This offense applies when a person acts recklessly and:

  • Acts in a way that creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death; or
  • Discharges a firearm from a motor vehicle in a way that creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death.

Any person who violates Section 3-204 is guilty of the misdemeanor of reckless endangerment. If convicted, the maximum sentence includes five years in prison and up to $5,000 in criminal fines.

Assault in the Second Degree

Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 3-203 provides the state laws against and penalties for assault in the second degree. There are two versions of second-degree assault under Maryland law- misdemeanor and felony.

Misdemeanor assault in the second degree occurs when a person indicates that they will inflict harmful or offensive contact on a victim. The threat of this contact — coupled with an apparent ability to carry out the threat — rises to the level of assault in the second degree.

If convicted for misdemeanor assault in the second degree, the maximum sentence includes 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.

Felony assault in the second degree occurs when a person intentionally causes a physical injury with knowledge that the victim is a:

  • Law enforcement officer performing their official duties;
  • Parole or probation officer performing their official duties; or
  • Firefighter, paramedic, or other first responder performing their official duties.

If convicted for felony assault in the second degree, the maximum sentence includes 10 years in prison and up to $5,000 in criminal fines.

Assault in the First Degree

Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 3-202 establishes the state laws against and penalties for assault in the first degree. There are two versions of first-degree assault under Maryland law.

The first version of this offense applies when a person intentionally causes — or attempts to cause — serious physical injury to a victim. It does not matter if the perpetrator is actually successful in their attempt.

The second version of this offense applies when a person commits an assault crime with a firearm, including:

  • Antique rifles;
  • Assault pistols;
  • Handguns;
  • Machine guns;
  • Regulated firearms;
  • Rifles; and
  • Shotguns.

Any person who violates Section 3-202 is guilty of felony assault in the first degree. If convicted, the maximum sentence includes 25 years in prison.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal help with Maryland charges for reckless endangerment or any type of assault crime, it can be greatly beneficial to consult with a trusted criminal defense attorney. The Bel Air violent crimes attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in criminal and family law, including reckless endangerment and various types of assault crimes. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.

https://www.stclaw.net/4-faqs-on-protective-orders-for-maryland-domestic-violence-victims/

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