When you have been charged or arrested for aggravated assault, you might feel shaken and scared. What happened could have been an accident or self-defense. Maybe things just went wrong that day. But now you face a felony conviction and prison time. Being found guilty can take away years of your freedom and leave a permanent mark on your record. This is not a road you need to walk alone. An experienced assault attorney could help.
Regardless of what happened that landed you with these charges, an Upper Marlboro aggravated assault lawyer could help evaluate the case and provide information about possible defenses.
What Does Aggravated Assault Mean?
There is no specific crime of “aggravated assault” in Maryland. The police use the term “aggravated” to describe an assault they believe was particularly bad, generally because it resulted in serious physical injury. The prosecutor will charge the assault as either first-degree or second-degree assault.
Aggravated assault is more commonly charged as first-degree assault, which is when someone intentionally causes or attempts to cause, serious physical injury to another person. In addition to causing serious physical injury, an assault might fall into the aggravated category if it:
- Involved a weapon
- Was motivated by hate
- Could have caused death
- Targeted a vulnerable person
- Was especially cruel or vicious
The more serious, permanent, and debilitating the injury, the more likely it is going to be classified as aggravated first-degree assault. Examples might include scarring on the face or body, loss of an eye or limb, skull fractures, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or internal organ damage.
Bar fights, domestic disturbances, disagreements between neighbors, and road rage incidents are all everyday scenarios that could result in an aggravated assault charge. Any situation leading to an aggravated assault charge can benefit from the critical eye of an experienced Upper Marlboro lawyer, as there might be defenses available or other ways to fight the case.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
If charged as first-degree assault, the penalty is up to 25 years in prison. If an aggravated assault charge is marked as second-degree assault, the penalty is up to 10 years in jail, a fine, or both.
Potential Aggravated Assault Defenses
Just because someone has been accused of aggravated assault does not mean they will be convicted. Multiple defenses may apply depending on the specific details of the assault in question. One example is the lack of intent to hurt anyone. If a softball player accidentally hits someone while doing warm-up swings, this might cause significant injury but would not be aggravated assault due to its accidental nature. On the other hand, if that player intentionally strikes an opposing team member out of malice because they lost the game, that could be aggravated assault if the injuries were serious enough.
Lack of serious injury, lack of evidence, inconsistent statements, self-defense, defense of others, mistaken identity, or police misconduct are other possible defenses. An Upper Marlboro aggravated assault attorney could review the details of the situation to see if any of these defenses might apply.
Contact an Upper Marlboro Aggravated Assault Attorney for Help
Even though aggravated assault is a serious charge, there might be ways you could fight the case or lessen the potential penalties. With so much at stake, this is no time to take chances. An Upper Marlboro aggravated assault lawyer could help. Call our firm today to speak with a dedicated legal advocate.