Under Maryland law, an “Assault” crime can be any offense which is considered assault, battery, or a combination of the two. In other words, the state of Maryland recognizes a few different assault offenses.
Assault in the First Degree
You may be charged with this, the most serious of assault offenses, if you are accused of:
- Intentionally causing serious physical injury to another,
- Attempting to cause serious physical injury to another, or
- Committing an assault with a firearm.
Serious physical injury includes those injuries that cause a risk of death or permanent damage.
First degree assault is classified as a felony and punishable by up to 25 years in the state prison.
Ref: MD. Code §3-202
Second Degree Assault
Less serious than first degree assault, though still considered a serious offense is second degree assault. You could be facing this charge if you are accused of any general assault that does not classify under the rules of First Degree Assault.
In other words, if you touch someone else in an unwanted manner that could be perceived as unwanted, offensive, or potentially harmful (whether or not it causes injury), you could be charged with this offense.
Generally, assault in the 2nd degree is a misdemeanor though it carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years. However, if the assault was committed on a law enforcement or probation officer, that assault charge will be entered as a felony.
Ref: MD. Code §3-203
Even reckless endangerment is categorized under the assault offenses in Maryland. This crime is committed when a person recklessly puts someone at risk of death or seriously physical injury.
Using the term “recklessly” in the law means the act doesn’t have to be intentional. Perhaps you didn’t intend to put someone at risk but you also did nothing to prevent it.
This is considered a misdemeanor offense and is punishable by up to 5 years behind bars.
Ref: MD. Code §3-204
In Maryland, it isn’t uncommon for a charge to be pled down to something less serious. For instance, if you are originally charged with 2nd degree assault but you have no criminal history and the prosecution is cooperative, an attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to misdemeanor reckless endangerment.