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What’s the Difference Between Assault and Battery in Maryland?

Kathleen M. Kirchner April 25, 2023

There are many different crimes that involve acts of physical violence toward another person. Some are arguably far more severe than others and a few have overlapping implications.

Assault is an offense that makes people fear for their personal safety because of intimidating body language or verbal threats. Battery is a crime that involves causing intentional physical injury to another person.

People often confuse these types of offenses and/or have an inaccurate idea about how the state handles such offenses. Every state has different rules that regulate acts of violence and render them criminal activities. In some states, the act of intimidating or threatening someone will lead to different charges than actually hurting another person.

Are assault and battery different in Maryland?

No, Maryland Does Not Separate Battery from Assault

Maryland state law treats both assault and battery as the same general type of offense. However, depending on the degree of injury involved and the circumstances, the state may pursue varying criminal charges within the general assault category. Accusations of second-degree assault involve misdemeanor charges and a scenario that involved only minor injuries or intimidation.

First-degree assault involves acts of violence against a police officer on duty or the use of a weapon during an assault. The potential for severe bodily harm also contributes to the risk of a first-degree assault charge. How strong someone is and the more violent the confrontation, the more likely the state is to pursue first-degree charges. Those accused of first-degree assault will typically face felony charges.

Are the Penalties for Assault and Battery Different?

The penalties are different depending on the degree of someone’s charges. Felony first-degree assault charges could lead to up to 25 years in prison, while second-degree assault could mean up to 10 years in state custody and $2,500 in fines.

It Is Possible to Fight Assault Charges

Those accused of causing harm to others or threatening them may be able to avoid a criminal conviction. Some people accused of assault didn’t actually hurt someone else and could claim that what someone perceived as a threat would not seem that way to a reasonable person. Others might mount a defense based on claims that they acted to protect themselves or their property rather than with the intent to harm someone else.

Learning more about the unique laws that apply to assault charges in Maryland can help those who have been accused of harming another person craft a strong criminal defense strategy with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.