What’s the difference between First Degree Assault and Second Degree Assault in Maryland?

Assault in Maryland is defined as the offensive touching or attempted touching of another person without consent, or placing that person in immediate fear of an intentional touching against their consent. It can be even the slightest of conduct, i.e. a push or shove, and usually comes from a verbal altercation that escalates to physical violence.

The difference between first degree assault and second degree assault is one of severity. First degree assault occurs where someone causes or attempts to cause “serious physical injury” to another. In Maryland, first degree assault is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 25 years.

Second degree assault just requires that someone causes or attempts to cause “offensive physical contact” to another. Second degree assault is a misdemeanor in Maryland and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Assault charges need to be treated seriously, whether the accused feels like they are being falsely accused, acted in self-defense, or feels like they didn’t do anything wrong. I have had clients accused of assault where they were the ones who were actually the victims, and they were falsely charged by the police or their accuser made up charges to retaliate against them. I have had success getting cases like these outright dismissed. In other cases, I may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor so that a client takes an anger management course or completes community service in order for the charges to be dismissed. Regardless of the case, my office will investigate the facts of the case, identify potential witnesses, research the case, and provide the best defense possible for that particular case. Sometimes these cases have to be fought and won at trial and we treat and prepare every case as if it will go to trial, even if we ultimately negotiate a settlement beneficial to the client which avoids trial.

If you or a loved one has an assault charge in Maryland and would like to know more information and find out how our office can help you, call The Law Offices of Christopher L. Peretti at 301-875-3472 anytime to set up a free consultation.

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