Despite how common they may seem in movies or television shows, physical fights should not be a part of everyday life. Unless you are a boxer or martial artist, there is really no reason, other than self-defense, to strike another person. The law in Maryland is quite clear that physically harming another person is illegal.
Unfortunately, it often doesn't take much to turn a verbal dispute into a physical fight. This is particularly true in situations involving alcohol. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to a physical altercation, the individual who started the fight could very well find themselves facing criminal consequences in Maryland.
Most fights result in second-degree assault charges
The average fight in Maryland will probably only involve a few blows or kicks. Other individuals nearby are likely to intervene and stop things from becoming any worse. In that situation, the person who injured the other party or initiated the fight could very well face second-degree assault charges.
Second degree assault charges apply to any sort of unwanted physical contact made with another person. These charges also apply in situations where one person intentionally threatens or frightens another person about the potential for an assault or bodily injury.
Second-degree assault in Maryland is a misdemeanor charge which can result in up to 10 years of incarceration, as well as a fine of up to $2,500.
How badly the other person got hurt will impact the charges
The Maryland criminal code specifically differentiates among different forms of assault. The most serious charge related to simple assault is first-degree assault. First-degree assault charges result from causing or attempting to cause serious bodily damage to another person.
A fight that involves impromptu weapons, such as a baseball bat or another blunt object, could result in first-degree assault charges. So could any kind of assault that includes a firearm, even if it is never discharged. The same charges could result from any physical altercation due to injuries that require medical attention.
Compared with second-degree assault, first-degree assault is a more serious charge that has more significant potential consequences. First-degree assault is a felony offense that carries steep potential penalties. These include up to 25 years in prison.
Assault charges necessitate building a defense
Anyone potentially facing assault charges in Maryland needs to take the charges seriously. Failing to do so could mean losing out on years of your life, to say nothing of how a criminal record related to violence will impact employment prospects in the future.
It is possible to successfully defend against assault charges, although tactics will vary widely depending on the circumstances. Anything from wrongful identification of a suspect to claims of self-defense can help protect someone accused of assault from the consequences of a conviction.
Discussing your case with a criminal defense attorney is usually the first step to determining what options you have.