MARYLAND ASSAULT LAW

§ 3-202 of the Maryland Criminal Code forbids any person from intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to another person. § 3-202 also specifies the penalties for these charges along with the penalties for committing assault with a deadly weapon. Deadly weapons include antique firearms, machine guns, shotguns, regulated firearms and other items. Assault with a deadly weapon is almost always charged as assault in the first degree.

FIRST-DEGREE ASSAULT

First-degree assault is a very serious charge in Maryland, carrying a possible penalty of up to 25 years’ imprisonment. In order to be charged with first degree assault, the state must prove the following:

That the crime meets all elements of second-degree assault, and

The crime was committed with a firearm, or the intent of the assault was serious physical injury.

Maryland defines serious physical injury as a scenario that presents a reasonable risk of death on the part of the alleged victim or results in serious injuries that disfigure the victim or impair some bodily function. If you have been charged with first-degree assault in Maryland, an experienced Maryland defense lawyer can help you understand your charges and how best to approach them.

SECOND-DEGREE ASSAULT

Second-degree assault differs from first-degree assault in Maryland in that it is a less serious charge, but it still carries a hefty potential penalty that a Maryland defense lawyer can help you fight. The maximum penalty for second-degree assault is 10 years’ imprisonment. Under Section 3-203, any unwanted physical contact can be considered assault, even if it doesn’t ultimately cause injury. Assault that poses no risk of death or serious injury is normally charged as second-degree assault, however, there are some exceptions as discussed below.

ASSAULT AGAINST A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, PAROLE/PROBATION AGENT

Even second-degree assault in Maryland can be charged as a felony if the assault is allegedly committed against a law enforcement officer, parole officer, or probation agent. Felony charges typically only result if the alleged victim was engaged in the performance of his or her official duties, or the injuries suffered were more than minor injuries (impaired a physical condition). According to Section 3-203, anyone that commits second-degree assault on a government agent, such as a law enforcement officer, is guilty of a felony, punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

If you are charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, you should be aware of the severity of the charges. If the assault is committed with a deadly weapon, you could face first-degree assault charges rather than assault in the second degree. A Maryland defense lawyer who has handled assault cases is vital to helping you navigate the Maryland court system.

MARYLAND RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT

According to Section 3-204 of the criminal code, reckless endangerment is illegal. This section states that a person may not:

Recklessly engage in any conduct that establishes a substantial risk of physical injury or death to another person

Recklessly discharge a firearm from a car or other motor vehicle in a way that establishes a serious risk of physical injury or death to another person

The penalty for this crime, according to state code Section 3-204(b), is a misdemeanor conviction as well as a fine of up to $5,000.00 and a jail sentence of up to five years.

Section 3-204(c) lists the exceptions for crimes of reckless endangerment. The section regarding the reckless endangerment of another individual does not apply to the production, manufacture or sale of a commodity or product, nor does it apply to use of a motor vehicle covered by Section 11-135 of the transportation code. According to this provision, a motor vehicle is a vehicle that is propelled by overhead electrical wires or self-propelled, and is not operated on rails. This same code states that mopeds and motor scooters are not considered motor vehicles.

In addition, the section regarding reckless discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle does not apply to security guards or law enforcement officers in the performance of official duties, or individuals acting in defense of a violent crime such as an attempted carjacking.

MARYLAND BURGLARY LAW

Burglary is a criminal offense that is sometimes referred to as trespassing, housebreaking, or B&E (breaking and entering).  In Maryland, Burglary is broken down into four different degrees.  It is important to know that there are specific types of burglary that may be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor under certain circumstances.  One example is Breaking and Entering with explosives.  If convicted, the potential jail time will vary greatly depending on the severity of the crime and which degree of burglary you are being charged with committing.

FIRST DEGREE

First degree burglary, as stated under § 6-202 of the criminal code, is the breaking and entering into a “dwelling” with some sort of intent to commit a theft or a violent crime. The intent to commit theft could be a misdemeanor or a felony. This crime is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and is a felony in the state of Maryland.

SECOND DEGREE

Burglary is broken down into four degree in Maryland.In Maryland, second degree burglary is similar to the first degree, with the main difference being that the crime is committed on a “storehouse” as opposed to a private residence. Generally a storehouse means any building, such as a farm barn, factory, educational facility, or public building, but it can also include certain vehicles, such as a train car, airplane or helicopter. The law also dictates in § 6-203(a) that burglary of the second degree must involve intent to commit violent crime, robbery (theft), or arson. Second degree burglary is a felony and punishable up to 15 years in prison.

SECOND DEGREE FIREARM

Burglary is broken down into four degree in Maryland.In Maryland, second degree burglary is similar to the first degree, with the main difference being that the crime is committed on a “storehouse” as opposed to a private residence. Generally a storehouse means any building, such as a farm barn, factory, educational facility, or public building, but it can also include certain vehicles, such as a train car, airplane or helicopter. The law also dictates in § 6-203(a) that burglary of the second degree must involve intent to commit violent crime, robbery (theft), or arson. Second degree burglary is a felony and punishable up to 15 years in prison.

THIRD DEGREE

Third degree burglary is defined by one entering a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. This is different than first and second degree burglary, as no specific crimes are listed. This crime is a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

FOURTH DEGREE

Breaking and entering in the fourth degree, in the state of Maryland, is charged as a misdemeanor. This does not mean that one cited with this crime can take the charges lightly. Maryland state law § 6-205(a)(b) says that one who enters a dwelling or a store house by breaking in may be charged – irrespective of whether or not there is the intent to commit a crime. In other words, the act of “breaking in” alone is in violation of the law. Fourth degree burglary is punishable by up to three years in prison.

FOURTH DEGREE THEFT

This particular section of Maryland state law involves breaking and entering into a dwelling, storehouse, backyard, front yard, land or garden. There must be intent to commit theft as stated in § 6-205(c). This crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison.

TRAFFIC

DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE IN MARYLAND

Many people do not realize how seriously the state of Maryland and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) take charges of driving on a suspended license. Driving on a suspended license in Maryland is a crime punishable by up to $1,000.00 in fines and one year in jail. In fact, repeat offenders can receive up to three years in jail with advanced penalties. Those charged with driving while suspended should contact a Maryland traffic attorney for help.

There are a number of reasons the MVA may suspend or revoke a Maryland driver’s license:

  • Failure to appear in court for a minor traffic violation
  • Failure to pay a Maryland traffic ticket
  • Failure to pay an out-of-state traffic ticket (through the Interstate Compact)
  • Too many points accumulated against the license
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to pay civil judgment related to an automobile accident

DRIVING AFTER A SUSPENSION IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be charged with a crime. (D.C. Code § 50-2302.02.) The maximum sentence for a conviction is a fine of $5,000, and up to one year in jail. (D.C. Code § 50-1403.01(e).)

Your license may be suspended or revoked for a longer period of time. (D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 18, § 303.)

LEGAL HELP FOR DRIVING AFTER A SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION CHARGES

A conviction for driving after suspension or revocation can have serious effects on your life. In addition to fines and jail time, you may find difficulty keeping employment or staying in school, difficulty securing insurance and challenges with other areas of your life. Although the law provides a specific sentence for a conviction, in reality your sentence may depend on the circumstances of your case and on the view your prosecutor and judge have of driving after suspension or revocation. An attorney who is familiar with how these charges are typically handled in your area will be best able to give you advice.  CALL US NOW at 202-558-6539 for assistance with these or other traffic related criminal charges.

DUI/DWI

Driving under the influence is one of the most common criminal offenses charged in the state of Maryland, and the penalties associated with a conviction escalate dramatically with any subsequent violations. According to Section 21-902 of the Maryland Transportation Code, you can be charged with a DUI if you are found to be operating a vehicle on public property with a blood alcohol content at or above .08%.

A first offense could carry up to a year in jail, fines of up to $1,000. With a second conviction the potential jail time and the fines double to two years and $2,000 respectively. A third conviction could lead to three years in prison and a $3,000 fine. Every conviction starting with the first also carries a potential prolonged loss of driving privileges.

A DWI carries less significant penalties than a DUI because the standards to be charged are far less. A DWI can be issued if your blood alcohol is less than .08 depending on the circumstances that led to you being pulled over. The maximum penalties for a first time DWI are two months in prison and up to $500 in fines. For more information Contact us by phone or by filling out the form located below to schedule a free consultation.

DEFENSES TO CRIMES OF THEFT

Section 7-110 outlines some of the possible defenses for crimes of theft. If one of these defenses is true of your case, it is likely that your case will be dismissed entirely:

You honestly believed that you had the right to exert control over or obtain the property

You acted under a good faith claim in assuming your rights to the property

The property taken belonged to your spouse, unless you and your spouse were living in separate locations at the time of the alleged crime

If you allegedly stole a trade secret, you already had rightful knowledge of that trade secret, or the trade secret was available from a source other than the owner pressing charges against you

POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA IN MARYLAND

While possession of any drug in Maryland can be a serious charge, possession of marijuana is one of the least strictly enforced. Under Section 5-601(a)(1), it is illegal to possess marijuana, and the penalty for violating this law depends on the amount in your possession at the time of your arrest:

Possession of 10 grams or more – $1,000.00 fine, one year imprisonment

Possession of less than 10 grams – a civil penalty of $100 to $500

A Maryland lawyer can always help you fight your drug possession charges, especially if there is evidence that the amount listed in your charging documents is inaccurate.  Under § 5-601(a)(2), someone who obtains marijuana by fraud can be punished by a $1,000.00 fine and/or one year of imprisonment.

POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA IN MARYLAND

Potential sentences for drugs other than marijuana in Maryland are typically much harsher. Section 5-601(a)(1) denotes the maximum penalty for all possession charges as being a $25,000.00 fine and/or imprisonment not to exceed four years. However, under § 5-614, the state levies significant charges against those who attempt to bring large amounts of any drug into the state, regardless of whether or not it was intended for distribution. If you are arrested for attempting to bring the following quantities of drugs across state lines, you could be facing up to a $50,000.00 fine and imprisonment for up to 25 years.

45 kilograms of marijuana or more

28 grams of cocaine or more (or a mixture that contains cocaine)

4 grams of opium or morphine or more, or any derivative

1,000 dosage units of lysergic acid diethylamide (or a mixture containing)

28 grams of phencyclidine or more in liquid or powder

112 grams of anything containing phencyclidine or more

1,000 dosage units or more of methaqualone

28 grams of methamphetamine (or a mixture containing) or more

4 grams of fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue or more

The primary indicator of distribution for many police officers is the presence of large amounts of a drug that are unlikely to be for personal use. For example, prosecutors could push for distribution charges (a felony) if you are arrested with more than 28 grams of cocaine, even if you had no intention of selling or distributing the drug. Normally, all possession charges in Maryland are misdemeanors. A felony drug conviction will not only result in immediate and severe penalties, but will likely have a negative impact on the rest of your life — such a conviction can hinder your ability to seek gainful employment, find an apartment, and obtain credit. A professional Maryland drug lawyer can examine all evidence against you and fight the state on your behalf.

PENALTIES FOR DRUG PARAPHERNALIA POSSESSION

Penalties also exist in Maryland for possessing drug paraphernalia or any item used to administer or transport drugs.  These items could include bongs, bags, baggies, spoons, pipes, and syringes.  § 5-619(c)(1) through § 5-620(b) outline the different types of paraphernalia and the penalties for these charges in Maryland.  Violation of this law is a $500.00 fine for the first offense.  Subsequent offenses increase the penalty to $2,000.00 and/or two years imprisonment.  Distributing drug paraphernalia to a minor, although still a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to $15,000.00 in fines and eight years imprisonment.

It’s important to remember that a qualified Maryland drug lawyer can fight drug paraphernalia charges in the state by making a variety of arguments, including that the paraphernalia was never intended for illegal drugs at all or the materials used for manufacturing drugs were not your own or on your property.

Sale, Manufacture, and Distribution Drug Laws and Penalties

Any evidence suggesting that you intended to sell, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances other than marijuana should be carefully examined by a Maryland drug defense lawyer, as the associated penalties are severe (even for a first offense).Under the Code of Maryland, Section 5-603, Section 605-609, and Section 612, the following is asserted:

Manufacturing, selling, or distributing any Schedule I or II narcotic: 20 years’ imprisonment, $25,000.00 fine

Manufacturing, selling, or distributing LSD, PCP, or fentanyl: 20 years’ imprisonment, $20,000.00 fine

Any other controlled substance: 5 years’ imprisonment, $15,000.00 fine

Sections 5-602 through 5-606 designate subsequent offenses (even if previous convictions were in other states) as carrying more substantial penalties:

Second offense: 20 years’ imprisonment, $25,000.00 fine

Third offense: 25 years’ imprisonment, $100,000.00 fine

Fourth offense: 40 years’ imprisonment, $100,000.00 fine

Possession of drug materials that indicate a likelihood of manufacture (such as a “meth lab” or “grow operation”) is a much more serious crime when in reference to drugs other than marijuana. Possession of materials used to grow marijuana, in sufficient amounts to indicate distribution, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one years’ imprisonment and a $1,000.00 fine. With all other materials used to create controlled substances, the charge can be a felony with a potential $25,000.00 fine and four years’ imprisonment.