What are first and second degree assault?

Assault is a serious crime to be accused of, and it matters a lot what kind of assault a person is charged with. Assault in Maryland is broken down into two categories, assault in either the first or second degree. Depending on what kind of assault someone is charged with, a person may end up with a long prison sentence and a hefty fine if convicted.

FindLaw explains that the two types of assault usually depend on the kind of harm inflicted upon a person. Second degree assault occurs when a person either is assaulted offensively or is threatened with a physical attack. This kind of assault does not involve personal injuries that are serious in nature or the possibility that serious injuries could happen.


First degree assault is more serious in nature. Perpetrators may be charged if they attempt to carry out serious physical harm or if they actually succeed in doing so. Injuries resulting from first degree assault may involve damage to organs or other body functions. Someone recovering from a first degree assault could require extensive rehabilitation, or might suffer a disability, or end up physically disfigured.


It also makes a difference whether someone commits assault with a firearm. A person who assaults an individual with bare fists may face a lesser charge than someone who assaults someone with a gun. Whether the gun is a pistol, a rifle or an assault weapon, it does not matter. A person assaulting someone with a gun could face a first degree charge, which may result in a prison sentence of up to twenty-five years.


The facts surrounding any assault case are important, since certain factors, such as whether an assault was self-defense, may determine the degree of the criminal charge or even whether a court throws out the charges. Keep in mind that this article is written to inform you about assault charges. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a professional attorney.



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