Interactions with law enforcement can be stressful. When you have been charged with assault on an officer, you might be afraid and unsure of what to do. You might not have meant to do anything wrong and may have even been defending yourself.
Assault on an officer is a serious charge that carries a possible prison sentence, so getting the insight of an experienced assault attorney should be one of the first steps you take. An Upper Marlboro assault on an officer lawyer is familiar with these situations and could help you fight the charges or work to lessen the potential penalties. Call our firm today to begin reviewing your options with a dedicated legal advocate.
What Is the Definition of Assault on an Officer?
Assault on an officer is a form of second-degree assault where the target is a law enforcement officer or first responder. Second-degree assault involving everyday people is generally a misdemeanor and requires showing that the defendant made, or threatened to make, an offensive and unpermitted contact with another person—like a push or a slap, or a threatened push or slap.
Second-degree assault gets elevated to a felony when someone intentionally causes more than minor injury to another person they know is a:
- Police officer
- Sheriff’s deputy
- Correctional officer
- Metro transit police officer
- Parole or probation agent
- EMT or rescue squad member
- Other law enforcement officers or first responders
The officer or first responder must be actually engaged in their official duties at the time of the alleged assault. A scuffle with an unidentified off-duty officer would likely not count as felony second-degree assault on an officer. If the defendant did not know the target was an officer or that they were performing official duties, a dedicated Upper Marlboro assault on an officer attorney could use this as a potential defense against their charges.
Penalties for Assault on an Officer
Second-degree assault on an officer is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
This does not necessarily mean that the defendant will receive the maximum sentence. Sometimes a person’s attorney and the prosecutor can work out a deal for a lesser sentence, especially if the defendant has no priors or the evidence is weak. Under certain circumstances, a lawyer experienced with assault on an officer cases in Upper Marlboro might be able to negotiate a sentence involving probation only with conditions like community service or anger management.
Defenses to an Assault on an Officer Charge
In addition to lack of knowledge about the person being an officer or first responder, other defenses could apply to get the charges reduced or dismissed, or to win at trial. Because assault on an officer requires intent, a defendant might be able to argue that they did not mean to cause physical injury. They could assert that they were being resistive but not combative, or maybe they were clumsy and made contact with the officer by accident.
A defendant might also be able to argue that the alleged victim did not sustain any injuries, which are required for felony second-degree assault on an officer.
If video footage of the alleged assault incident contradicts the officer’s version of what happened, an Upper Marlboro lawyer might be able to use that footage to get a better outcome for the defendant.
Get Help From an Upper Marlboro Assault on an Officer Attorney
When you have been charged or arrested for assaulting an officer, you should consider contacting an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of a conviction could be serious, but you might have a viable defense or other ways to lessen the effects of your potential penalties. An Upper Marlboro assault on an officer lawyer could help.
Your future is worth fighting for. Call for a consultation today.