Things to Know if Charged With a Baltimore Assault
A Baltimore assault charge can be a serious crime. If the incident of assault resulted in serious injury, you may be charged with a Baltimore felony.
This article will explain what you should know if you are charged with an assault in Baltimore. If you have specific legal questions regarding your case, you should reach out to a Baltimore criminal defense attorney. Whether you were charged with assault in Highlandtown, Lakeland, Frankford or another area of the city, Attorneys.com can connect you with a criminal defense attorney near you. Just fill out the online form, or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few brief questions, Attorneys.com will provide you with the contact information of at least one Baltimore criminal defense lawyer. That lawyer will contact you within two business days, or you can reach out to him at your own convenience.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court can appoint you one.
What Is Baltimore Assault?
If you have been charged with assault in Baltimore, you should understand how the crime is defined.
You do not have to actually make physical contact with someone to commit assault in Baltimore. According to Maryland criminal law, assault is defined as:
- The attempted touching of another individual without the individual's consent
- Placing someone in fear of an intentional and nonconsensual touching
- Actually touching someone without their consent
Under the law, touching can mean many things. Touching someone sexually without their consent is known as sexual assault. Causing someone physical injury is known as battery. In Baltimore, assault, battery, and assault and battery all fall under the charge of assault.
Types of Baltimore Assault: Reckless Endangerment
You should also know the potential consequences for being convicted of a Baltimore assault. The penalties you face are proportional to the severity of the assault. Usually the more harm you cause and the more reckless your behavior, the greater the sentence.
The least serious form of Baltimore assault is reckless endangerment. Reckless endangerment is when you do something that creates a high level of risk of serious injury or death to another individual. For example, shooting a firearm into the air may constitute reckless endangerment because the firing of the gun created a risk of serious injury or death to others.
In Baltimore, reckless endangerment can result in a maximum of five years in prison.
Types of Baltimore Assault: Second Degree Assault
A more serious crime than reckless endangerment is second degree assault. Second degree assault is usually considered a Baltimore misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime than a felony and usually entails penalties of less than a year in jail.
In Baltimore, an individual is guilty of second degree assault if he causes physical injury to another person. The injury must be greater than a minor injury but not so serious as to cause disfigurement, loss of a bodily function or other forms of permanent impairment.
The penalty for second degree assault is a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
If the victim of the assault was an on-duty police officer, the crime is elevated to a felony. The maximum sentence is still 10 years, but the fine increases to $5,000.
Types of Baltimore Assault: First Degree Assault
The most serious form of Baltimore assault is first degree assault. First degree assault occurs when someone causes another serious injury that creates a substantial risk of disability, permanent impairment of a bodily function or death.
First degree assault is considered a felony. It is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Baltimore Assault Defenses
You and your Baltimore criminal defense attorney will want to discuss assault defenses for your case. An assault defense is an argument you make to either prove your innocence or justify the actions you are accused of committing.
One defense option is to argue that you did not commit assault at all. For example, you may have been a bystander to the assault and were mistaken for one of the assailants. Your attorney will present evidence in court, including witness testimony, to try to prove that you did not commit the assault.
Another type of defense is when you do not dispute the charges against you, but rather you justify your actions under the law or make a case for why you cannot be held liable for the crime. This is called an affirmative defense. For example, your attorney may argue that you only struck another individual because you were defending yourself or someone else from imminent harm. This is known as self-defense.
Your attorney may also be able enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution, the party in charge of convicting you. A plea bargain is an arrangement where you agree to plead guilty to lesser charges in order to receive a lighter sentence. For example, you may be able to get a misdemeanor second degree assault charge reduced to a reckless endangerment charge.