In Maryland, the crime of assault is broken down into two categories: first degree assault and second degree assault. First-degree assault is a felony, and is addressed in § 3-202 of the Maryland Criminal Code. In order to be convicted of first degree assault, the state must prove that the defendant has committed an assault that includes a firearm, or has inflicted or attempted to inflict serious bodily harm to another. The maximum sentence for first-degree assault in the state of Maryland is 25 years in prison.

Second degree assault in Maryland is defined as: the intentional creation (with something other than words), of a reasonable fear in the mind of the victim that they are about to encounter bodily harm. An example of second degree assault in Maryland could be swinging a baseball bat at a victim, or attempting to punch them. It’s important to remember that assault means the victim reasonably feels threatened. Therefore, the perpetrator’s mindset is irrelevant – only the victim’s mindset is taken into account.

The term “assault” is sometimes heard with “battery.” “Battery” means offensively touching someone without their permission. But in Maryland, “battery” is codified under second degree assault, so that assault means both touching and placing someone in a state of fear. According to §3-203 of the Maryland Criminal Code, a conviction of second-degree assault carries a maximum penalty of ten years of incarceration.