Ocean City Assault Lawyer
Assault charges carry severe penalties such as jail time, fines, and other possible probation requirements. The Judges on the lower shore of Maryland routinely jail defendants on assault cases that other judges in the Baltimore or DC area would not based on the facts. Whether it was a fight at the most popular mid town club in Ocean City or a dispute that erupted over a parking space, you need an experienced assault lawyer like Brian H. Clark.
Assault Defense in Ocean City MD
Under Maryland law, there are defenses that can be applied to assault charges. The state gives the right to self-defense and the defense of others. Attorney Clark has prosecuted and defended hundreds of these cases. As each year unfolds, more of these cases are caught or glimpsed partially on video from restaurants, nightclubs, hotels or the city-watch Boardwalk camera system. The judges in the Ocean City area each have particular views on the validity and use of video and what it captures. A video is not necessary to convict someone, nor is it needed to show everything. When defending Ocean City assault charges, a lawyer would want to analyze all defenses, review any video multiple times and speak to witnesses. In many assault cases, the evidence the prosecution has will come from eyewitness testimony. A skilled attorney will review their statements to determine credibility. An eyewitness also may have a grudge against the defendant and want to get them in trouble. It is important to cross-examine the eyewitness as to whether they had been drinking or under the influence of any drugs that may have affected their ability to recollect accurately. It is important to understand that just because an arrest did not occur in your assault case because the police did not witness it, does not mean you won’t be charged. Countless cases in Ocean City result in the officer taking statements from numerous parties and suspects and then meeting with the commissioner later and filing charges against you through the mail for you to return to Ocean City. Even though you weren’t arrested and didn’t spend the night in jail, the case is just as serious and will be handled the same way as others who did. There are rules governing misdemeanors not committed in the officer’s presence that often preclude an immediate arrest.
2nd Degree & 1st Degree Assault Charges in Ocean City MD
The most common assault charge in Ocean City is Second (2nd) Degree Assault. Second degree assault is any unwanted or offensive touching and does not require a visible injury. It is a misdemeanor and a conviction or even an arrest that is not expunged can prevent you from renting an apartment, obtaining a job or passing a security clearance. Whether it is domestic related involving a fight with a friend, spouse or stranger, it must be aggressively addressed with speed and precision. The maximum penalty is 10 years in jail and $2500 fine or both. The Ocean City police department and other agencies will usually hand the defendant a written narrative or summary of the events they allege occurred upon release from jail or prior to a bond hearing. It is important to remember that this written narrative often omits substantial facts, hand written witness statements and other crucial evidence. Attorney Brian Clark will obtain the final police report that is issued to the officer’s supervisors and the State’s Attorney’s Office. This report will form the basis of what the State will attempt to prove in Court. To handle these cases correctly to get a dismissal or reduction of charges, it is important to take notes contemporaneously with the event and get all your witness information together so we can contact or subpoena them. Do not delay just because the STATEMENT OF PROBABLE CAUSE you are reading at your home after the arrest or summons appears vague or does not have inflammatory language or mention of injuries. Small conflict or quick fights have led to victims contacting the prosecutors or defense lawyers office with evidence of substantial hospital bills or long term damage to a body part. A judge or jury will use the following elements to determine if a 2nd degree assault occurred.
A. INTENT TO FRIGHTEN An assault is intentionally frightening another person with the threat of immediate offensive physical contact/physical harm. In order to convict the defendant of assault the State must prove :
(1) that the defendant committed an act with the intent to place (name) in fear of immediate offensive physical contact; (2) that the defendant had the apparent ability, at that time, to bring about this physical contact or harm and (3) that (name) reasonably feared immediate offensive physical harm and; (4) that the defendant’s actions were not legally justified.
B. ATTEMPTED BATTERY An assault is an attempt to cause offensive physical contact or harm. In order to convict the defendant of assault, the State must prove : (1) that the defendant actually tried to cause immediate physical harm or contact to (name); (2) that the defendant intended to bring about offensive harm; and (3) that the defendant’s actions were not consented to by (name) or not legally justified
C. BATTERY Assault is causing offensive physical contact to another person. In order to convict the defendant of assault, the State must prove: (1) that the defendant caused offensive contact to (name); (2) that the contact was the result of an INTENTIONAL OR RECKLESS ACT of the defendant and was not accidental; and (3) that the contact was not consented to by (name) or legally justified.
1st Degree Assault
This felony charge is the most serious type of assault in Maryland and carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Attorney Clark has successfully represented numerous defendants in getting this charge dismissed or dropped in Ocean City.
A judge or jury will consider the following elements in determining whether to convict.
The defendant is charged with the crime of first degree assault. In order to convict the defendant of first degree assault, the State must prove all of the elements of second degree assault also prove that : (1) the defendant used a firearm to commit assault; or (2) the defendant intended to cause serious physical injury in the commission of the assault.
A firearm is a weapon that propels a bullet, shotgun pellets, a missile or projectile by gunpowder or a similar explosive. Serious physical injury means injury that (1) creates a substantial risk of death; or (2) causes serious and permanent or serious and protracted disfigurement, loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
It is crucial that your attorney knows how the local judges hearing your case interpret and view what factually constitutes these elements. The law is the law, but how an individual judge views a particular element can vary quite a bit. Attorney Clark knows what is important to which judge and what to avoid wasting your time and resources on.