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What is an Aggravated Assault Charge in Maryland?

If you or a loved one has been charged with aggravated assault in Maryland, you may be wondering what the difference is from a standard assault charge. Aggravated assault is not technically a separate crime as defined in the Maryland statutes, but references an assault that either intended to, or did, inflict severe or aggravated bodily harm to the victim.

Assault charges of any degree should be taken seriously. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, you need a skilled Charles County criminal defense attorney on your side who can help protect your rights and fight to get the charges reduced, or even dismissed in some cases.

Factors That can Lead to Aggravated Assault

For an aggravated assault charge to stick, there has to be more than just the intent to cause a minor injury or harm to another person. Some aggravating factors could include:

  • Who is the victim? One example is an assault on someone who is a law enforcement officer. Another example is a hate crime. Assault as part of a hate crime could lead to aggravated assault as well.
  • What was the offender’s intent? If law enforcement deems the offender’s intent was to inflict serious bodily harm, the charges could be raised.
  • Was there a weapon used? The use of a weapon is not limited to a knife or gun, for example. The circumstances of an assault could mean an item of chance was used, or even a vehicle.
  • How seriously was the victim injured? If the assault resulted in serious bodily harm, or disfigurement, it is likely going to be classified as an aggravated assault.

Aggravated Assault Charges in Maryland

If you are told you are being charged with aggravated assault in Maryland, you will actually be charged with either a first-degree or second-degree assault. Both of these charges are felonies, and a conviction carries significant penalties and lifelong consequences. A conviction for second degree assault can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. A conviction for first degree assault is more serious, which can result in up to 25 years in prison.

First degree assault convictions hinge on the crime being committed with a firearm, or there was an intent of serious physical injury. Maryland defines serious physical injury as one that has a reasonable risk of death, or the injuries are serious enough to impair a bodily function or cause disfigurement.

Either one has the potential to impact you for the rest of your life, even after you are paroled. You will have to list that you were convicted of a felony, which can cause you to lose out on potential employment opportunities, bank loans, car loans, or even an apartment rental.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with aggravated assault, it is important to retain a skilled Waldorf criminal defense attorney right away so that he or she has time to build the best defense possible. Any delay can hamper evidence collection, and with a potential sentence of 25 years looming overhead, time is of the essence. Contact the Law Offices of Robert R. Castro today at 301-705-5233 to schedule an initial consultation. Let one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys help prepare you the best defense possible.