There are many kinds of criminal charges, ranging from drug possession offenses to prostitution. Some of these crimes involve the sale or theft of possessions, while others involve infringing on another's bodily autonomy or rights. Assault and battery are charges that relate to the violation of someone else's right to bodily safety and well-being.
Many people think that assault charges only happen in violent incidents where someone ends up disfigured or disabled. However, there don't necessarily need to be any injuries at all, depending on the charges.
How Maryland courts define assault
Maryland classifies most assault and battery offenses as assault. The definition of assault includes making unwanted physical contact with another (battery), attempting to make unwanted contact or making another person fear unwanted physical contact (battery).
In other words, simply threatening another or acting in an overtly threatening manner could result in assault charges. You won't ever need to put your hands on the other person or strike him or her with an object to face assault charges.
Any crime where you intentionally make physical contact with another person and cause physical injury could result in assault charges. However, there does not need to be serious injury to the victim for the offense to qualify as an assault. The degree of injury will have a bearing on the consequences that you face.
Maryland can apply serious penalties to assault charges
The average assault or battery offense will result in misdemeanor assault charges in the second degree. The penalties for that charge could include up to 10 years in prison, a fine of as much as $2,500 and criminal record. If the victim of the assault is a public servant, like an emergency medical technician or police officer, that could increase the charges to felony offenses.
It's important to know that you have the right to defend yourself, both physically and legally. You can physically defend yourself against another person who attacks you, threatens you or attacks another person unprovoked. However, defending yourself or others could result in criminal charges in some circumstances. Thankfully, you also have the right to legally defend yourself. Self-defense is a common defense strategy for those facing assault charges.
Depending on the details of your situation, there may be several options, such as witness testimony or even security cameras, that can help you establish a strong defense against assault charges. Defending yourself is critical to your future, as the criminal consequences involved if you get convicted or plead guilty could drastically change your life. Be certain to explore all of your options before you commit to anything when you're facing criminal charges related to an alleged assault.