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  • Frank Benvenuto, P.A.

Affray, First Degree Assault & Second Degree Assault


The crime of Affray is a holdover from the English Common Law system, (originally adopted in Maryland’s early colonial days) which has never been revised, amended or repealed and is therefore still valid Md. law. The crime of Affray is essentially the fighting of two or more persons in some public place to the disturbance of others (the Public), essentially public disorderly fighting. It is possible that if you find yourself at a bar, house party, or just on a street corner and a fight breaks out that you get involved in, you could be charged with the crime of Affray. Since Affray is a common law crime without any statutory limitations, the maximum possible penalty for affray is any sentence that is not considered cruel nor unusual punishment.

First Degree Assault:

Pursuant to section 3-202 of the criminal law article of the annotated code of Maryland, a first degree assault is intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another or the use of a firearm in an assault. “Serious physical injury” means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes permanent and/or protracted, serious disfigurement, loss of the function of any bodily member or organ, or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of assault in the first degree and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 25 years.

Second Degree Assault:

Pursuant to section 3-203 of the criminal law article of  the annotated code of Maryland, second degree assault is not as serious as first degree assault and is intentionally causing or attempting to cause (such as a swing and a miss) physical injury. “Physical injury” in this case means any impairment of physical condition, including minor injuries.

In Maryland, upon conviction of a felony, a person who commits second degree assault is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be subject to imprisonment not to exceed 10 years, or a fine not to exceed $2500 or both.

However – additionally a person convicted of second degree assault on a police officer in the performance of his/her official duties is guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years, or a fine of up to $5000, or both.

You should also know – In most jurisdictions the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the length of possible incarceration. Usually if you could receive a sentence of less than one year incarceration, then the crime is considered a misdemeanor; if you could receive a maximum sentence greater than one year, the crime is considered a felony. Not so in Maryland. In the state of Maryland, you can receive up to 10 years for a second degree assault conviction yet it is still considered a misdemeanor, unless the assault was committed upon a law enforcement officer, in which case it could possibly be considered a felony, especially if there was injury to a police officer.

If you have been charged with any of the above criminal cases, I can help!

Call me today for a free consultation.

Frank Benvenuto, P.A. -Criminal Defense Attorney

24/7 - Cell: 443-783-2451

Office: 410-641-2999

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