Columbia Assault & Domestic Violence Lawyer
Fighting to Protect Your Future
Assault and domestic violence convictions carry heavy penalties. The consequences of a conviction for assault or domestic violence can include a lifelong criminal record, loss of employment, firearm possession prohibition, and the loss of one’s freedom. Accordingly, if you or someone you love has recently been charged with or arrested for assault or domestic violence, it’s important that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.
At Portner & Shure, P.A., our Columbia domestic violence and assault attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing serious criminal charges in Howard County for over 25 years. We are ready to listen to your story and begin immediately preparing your defense. If needed, we can represent you at your bail hearing.
Contact us online or by phone at (855) 954-4141 now to request a free, confidential consultation.
Assault Charges in Maryland
Under Maryland State law, there are two assault statutes: first- and second-degree assault.
The crime of second-degree assault is the lesser crime. It covers a wide range of activities, including any form of contact without consent. This charge is commonly brought by prosecutors, as it is so broad.
Second-degree assault is defined as causing physical injury or any impairment of physical condition to another person. Additionally, another way second-degree assault can be charged is if the accused attempted to place the victim in fear of unconsented contact. Specifically, this is defined as an act of placing another in fear of imminent offensive contact or taking a substantial step toward an offensive contact. Second-degree assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.
The crime of first-degree assault is the more serious form of assault. First-degree assault is defined as intentionally causing or an attempt to cause serious physical injury to another individual. The primary difference between first-degree assault and second-degree assault is that first-degree assault results in a serious physical injury or the accused intended to cause a serious physical injury. Additionally, the use of a firearm is also considered first-degree assault, even if no injury occurred. First-degree assault carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment in addition to steep fines.
Often, incidents that result in assault charges, particularly second-degree assault, have outrageous facts. Nonetheless, the severe penalties provide prosecutors a significant amount of leverage to negotiate unfavorable plea deals. Accordingly, if you are facing assault charges, whether first- or second-degree assault, it is incredibly important that you work with an assault defense attorney in Columbia who can protect your rights and best interests.
Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland
There is no specific law in Maryland outlawing domestic violence. Nonetheless, under Maryland state law, certain crimes are often considered crimes of domestic violence.
These crimes include:
- First-degree assault
- Second-degree assault
- Attempted rape
Domestic violence often occurs between spouses, parents and children, and domestic partners. In addition to possible criminal penalties, a person accused of domestic violence is typically served with a protective order by the victim. A protective can have its own consequences, including loss of firearms possession privileges and forced removal from the family home.
What Defenses Are Available to Assault Charges?
Self-defense is the most common defense available in an assault case. In order to assert this defense, the accused must present proof that they reasonably believed they were facing imminent physical harm and that they used reasonable force to protect themselves. The key term is “reasonable.” In order for a self-defense argument to prevail, an accused individual can only have used the same amount or a lesser amount of force than the victim was using.
Another possible defense to assault charges is the defense of others. This defense allows an accused individual to use a proportional amount of force to protect a third party. If the accused has a reasonable belief that a third party is facing an imminent threat and the third party would have been permitted to defend themselves, then the defense of the third party is permitted.
Finally, the Maryland assault statute allows an assault charge to be dismissed prior to trial. In order to accomplish this, the victim and the accused must agree to the dismissal.
Defenses in a Domestic Violence Case
The facts surrounding a domestic violence case are often complex. Very often, a domestic violence case comes down to a word-versus-word situation. Accordingly, in order to prevail in a domestic violence case, it’s important that you work with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Columbia. Your attorney will be able to conduct a careful review of the facts and potentially highlight inconsistencies by the alleged victim in order to question their credibility.
Contact Portner & Shure, P.A. Today
Our firm has been successfully defending individuals accused of assault and domestic violence in Howard County for more than 25 years. Our long legacy of success in these cases can be seen in our many favorable outcomes and positive, five-star reviews from past clients. We have also earned a reputation within the legal community for being a firm that does not back down from even the toughest of fights. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys of 2020 recently recognized Portner & Shure, P.A. as one of Maryland’s “10 Best Law Firms.”
To schedule your free initial consultation with our Columbia criminal defense lawyers, contact Portner & Shure, P.A. online or call (855) 954-4141 now.