If you are a fan of our blog, you know that we have covered the topic of assault on many occasions (here and here). Now we are here to discuss how assault and domestic violence differ.

Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer: What is assault?

First Degree Assault is the intentional attempt or act of causing physical harm to another person. First Degree Assault also includes the use of a firearm during an assault.  The firearms can be handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns or any other type of firearm.  Even if you own the firearm if you use it to commit an assault on another person, you can be charged with First Degree Assault. This crime is a felony, and if you are convicted of First Degree Assault, the penalty carries a sentence of jail time not to exceed 25 years.

As we stated in one of our previous blogsSecond Degree Assault is the intentional, unconsensual, offensive touching of another, or an attempt to do so; or, a threat of the same with the apparent ability to immediately carry it out, that places a person in a position of imminent bodily harm. This crime is a misdemeanor, and if you are convicted of Second Degree Assault, the penalty carries a fine of $2,500 or a sentence of jail time not to exceed 10 years or both.

Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer: What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is categorized as a dispute between two people who live together who are also in a relationship.  In Maryland, domestic violence is not categorized as a crime unto itself, meaning there is not an actual charge of domestic violence.  Other states however, charge domestic violence as a separate crime, aside from any other charges stemming from the incident.

Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer: So what is the difference?

Domestic violence incidents are taken more seriously than regular assault cases.  Although as said previously, it is not charged as a separate crime, but rather it is the circumstance surrounding the incident that lends to the severity of the crime. For example, if a person were to get into a bar fight, the victim in the case may decide not to press charges, and the State’s Attorney prosecuting the case may dismiss the case.  However, in domestic violence cases, even if the victim does not wish to go further with the case, the State may still decide to bring charges against the alleged assailant.  Prosecutors in these matters take domestic violence situations very seriously.  They are less willing to reduce sentences and charges when the incident is domestically related.  Judges, like prosecutors, take domestic violence cases very seriously.  They are more inclined to hand down stiffer penalties for these types of incidents.

Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer: I’ve been charged in a domestic violence dispute, what should I do now?

If you have been charged with a crime from a domestic violence dispute, you need an experienced attorney.  All of the attorneys at ENLawyers are former State’s Attorneys and have experience handling numerous domestic violence cases.  We offer free 1-hour consultations so that we can discuss your case and the facts surrounding the incident and help decide on the best course of action for you. Call us today!