Did you know you can be arrested for a felony assault at any time here in Maryland, no matter when it occurred? The reason for this is because Maryland has no statute of limitations on felony grade assault crimes.
But what is a statute of limitations? In the realm of criminal law, statutes of limitations place a time limit on when charges can be filed for a particular crime. However, it bears repeating, when it comes to felony assault in Maryland, there is no statute of limitations. This means that no matter how much time has passed since an alleged assault, you can potentially face arrest and prosecution for felony assault in Maryland.
Felony assault vs. misdemeanor assault
First-degree assault is a felony and second-degree assault is a misdemeanor.
- Felonies: In both state and federal law, felonies are the most serious offenses with which you can be charged. If you are convicted of a felony, you will face serious consequences as well as potentially substantial jail sentences and fines. With no statute of limitations, felony grade assault can be a life-altering fear that looms over the accused individual.
- Misdemeanors: Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are infractions that the law sees as less serious than felonies. Most misdemeanors will have a maximum jail sentence of 12 months.
Assault crimes fall into either category, from misdemeanors to felonies, based on the severity of the offense and the level of harm inflicted upon the victim.
What makes an assault a felony grade assault?
In Maryland, first-degree assault charges can result from a range of offenses, which can include:
- Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault involves the intentional infliction of serious bodily harm upon another person. The use of a dangerous weapon or the intent to cause severe injury are actions that indicate an assault going beyond the scope of misdemeanor assault. The severity of the injuries and the presence of aggravating factors are key in determining this charge.
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon: This charge applies when an individual uses a deadly weapon, such as a firearm, knife, or any other object capable of causing serious harm, to threaten or harm another person.
- Sexual Assault: In most rape cases where a person forces non-consensual sex, it can be categorized as felony sexual assault. Furthermore, US News & World Report reports that on April 11, 2023, Maryland passed a law that will eliminate statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse.
- Family Violence Resulting in Serious Bodily Harm: Domestic violence incidents that result in serious bodily harm to a family or household member can also lead to felony assault charges. The parameters for severity of injuries may be less from an aggravated assault charge because of the emotional damage affiliated with the breach of trust and trauma that comes along with family violence.
What does all this mean? If you are accused of any of the above listed crimes, or similar actions, do not delay. There is no statute of limitations, so the clock will never stop ticking on these charges. Seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney in Bowie or Crofton to develop a robust defense strategy to be prepared for a potentially life-changing legal fight.
What are the penalties and collateral damages of a first-degree assault?
Aside from court-ordered punishments, collateral damages have life-altering implications. Having a criminal record can create difficulties in every area of your life, such as being trusted by banks for loans of any kind, earning or retaining professional licensing, and finding gainful employment. A felony assault conviction may also lead to a damaged reputation in your community and restrictions on gun ownership and other constitutional rights.
Seek legal assistance with the Carey Law Office
The trusted team at the Carey Law Office have a deep understanding of Maryland’s criminal justice system and have a proven track record of preserving the rights of our clients. Read our testimonials to see how we have helped clients in Bowie, Crofton, Owings, and throughout Maryland through the difficulties that come along with a felony accusation.
Our team recognizes the gravity of assault charges and the potential life-altering consequences that they may cause. As such, the Carey Law Office will work diligently to build a strong defense, carefully examining the evidence, identifying any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and exploring all possible legal avenues to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.
We are proud to serve clients from three convenient locations in Bowie, Crofton and Owings, Maryland. If you have been accused or fear a looming accusation of felony grade assault, we have extensive experience advocating for the rights of individuals in situations like yours. Contact or call Carey Law Office today to set up your initial consultation. Also serving Calvert County.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More