Annapolis Defense Attorney for Charges Assault in the First Degree
Aggressive criminal defense for all assault charges
Assault charges should not be taken lightly. Charges for Assault in the First Degree, however, are the most serious of all. A conviction could result in a sentence of 25 years in prison and a lifetime of dealing with the stigma of a criminal conviction. Even when you are released from prison, you will likely have difficulty finding a job or employment. You will not be able to own a firearm.
That is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side with the skill to advocate for your best interests. My name is Gill Andrew Cochran, and I have a proven record of successfully defending first-degree assault charges in the Maryland courts. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, I diligently work to provide clients with strong representation. I’ll assert your Constitutional rights. I’ll use every legal and factual argument possible to help you obtain a dismissal, an acquittal, or a fair plea bargain.
Frequently Asked Questions About Assault Charges
- What is assault and battery?
- What is Assault in the First degree?
- What are the penalties for Assault in the First Degree in Maryland?
- Can Assault in the First Degree charges be expunged?
- Do I need a lawyer if I am charged with Assault in the First Degree in Annapolis?
What is Assault and Battery?
Assault is intentionally attempting to touch someone without his or her consent. The state also charges this crime for placing someone in reasonable fear of bodily harm. Battery is the unlawful touching of someone without consent. Unlike many other states, Maryland combines these two crimes into one general assault statute. Whether you are accused of threatening to harm someone, or actually causing injury, you may be charged with some classification of assault.
What is Assault in the First degree?
Assault in the First Degree is the most serious type of assault charge. A prosecutor must prove the following to obtain a conviction:
- A person may not intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury to another.
- A person may not commit an assault with a firearm, including:
- a handgun, antique firearm, rifle, shotgun, a short–barreled shotgun, or a short–barreled rifle
- an assault pistol
- a machine gun
- a regulated firearm
- A person may not commit an assault by intentionally strangling another.
“Strangling” means impeding the normal breathing or blood circulation of another person by applying pressure to the other person’s throat or neck. It doesn’t have to be fatal to make it a felony, either.
“Serious bodily injury” means physical injury that:
- Creates a substantial risk of death
- Causes permanent or protracted serious
- Loss of function of any bodily member or organ
- Impaired bodily function
What are the penalties for Assault in the First Degree in Maryland?
If convicted of Assault in the First Degree, you can be sentenced up to 25 years because the crime is a crime of violence. You will likely need to serve at least half of your sentence in prison and the remainder of the sentence on probation. Probation means you will have to stay out of further trouble. The probation officer will have the right to monitor your activities.
On release from prison, employers, landlords, and credit companies that run background checks will see that you have a first-degree assault conviction on your record. A background check could then mean that you might not be able to find a job, an apartment, or obtain credit.
You will also lose your voting rights while you are in prison. You will not be allowed to own a firearm.
Can Assault in the First Degree charges be expunged?
No. The criminal conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. You will not be able to ask the criminal court to expunge your record even if you are a model citizen in prison and a model citizen after your release from prison.
Do I need a lawyer if I am charged with Assault in the First Degree in Annapolis?
Yes. Your only reasonable chance of avoiding a lengthy prison sentence is to hire an experienced Annapolis criminal defense lawyer.
There are numerous possible strategies when defending against an Assault in the First Degree charge. Each case differs, so it is best to let the specific details guide the defense strategy. The state generally uses victim and witness testimony to secure an assault conviction. Skilled examination of these witnesses can diminish their credibility and even reveal facts that support your case. Self-defense is another possible tactic, especially when the charges result from a mutual fight. Self-defense requires that the force you use be proportional to the force the person who struck you uses.
There are other possible defenses that we set forth in our blog on first-degree assault defenses. These defenses include:
- Defending other people. You do have the right to help someone who is being attacked or threatened – if the force you use is proportional.
- The victim’s injuries have to be due to the force you used and not a pre-existing condition.
- Asserting your US and Maryland Constitutional rights. These include the right to question the witnesses against you, to not self-incriminate (give testimony against) yourself, to a fair and speedy trial, and the right to require that the police obtain a warrant to search or seize you unless there are reasonable grounds for an immediate seizure or arrest.
Though I will go to trial and fight, I also recognize that a reduction of the charges is the best possible outcome in some cases. In these situations, I advocate on your behalf when talking to the state and negotiating for less severe charges. You have the right to approve any plea bargain with the prosecution. Plea bargains must be approved by the trial judge.
Skillful defense against Assault in the First Degree charges in Annapolis and Ellicott City
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, I understand the serious nature of an Assault in the First Degree charge, and I offer my clients a tenacious defense. I understand when the prosecution has a strong case, and when they have a weak one. I strive to make my services affordable for everyone. If you are facing allegations of first-degree assault, call me in Annapolis or Ellicott City today at 410.271.1892 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment.
And remember: Keep Calm — and Call Drew.