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Can you serve time after a college fight?

When it comes to college parties and drinking, things can get out of hand rather quickly. One second everyone is having a good time – and the next second a fight is about to break out. Whether you were at a bar having a few drinks with friends, or were at a house party, know that a fight – or even just the threat of a fight – can result in criminal charges. 

Understanding the different types of assault charges

 There are different types of assault charges in Maryland. Here is a look at the ones most common to college students:

  • Common assault of second-degree assault: This involves physical contact or the threat of physical contact. An example of this would be threatening to punch someone – or actually punching someone. However, the person you hit is not seriously injured.
  • First-degree assault: This involves either physically hurting someone or trying to hurt someone. The major difference here though is that this involves serious injuries. Serious injuries are those that cause permanent or protracted injuries, or even the threat of death.

Understanding the different types of consequences

Do not make the mistake of thinking that second-degree assault is not serious. Both first and second-degree assault charges have the potential to put you behind bars.

For example, a second-degree assault charge, while this could be a misdemeanor or a felony – depending on the circumstances -- you could serve up to 10 years, even for the misdemeanor level.

With first-degree assault, this is more severe. This is a felony charge and a guilty conviction could mean up to 25 years.  

In all of these scenarios, conviction will also mean a mark to your criminal record, which potential future employers could look down on after college.  

The takeaway message here is that a college party gone sideways, or a disagreement turned physical at the bar, can mean serious consequences. Even if you were not the person who started the fight, but were more just standing up for yourself, do not take this to mean you are off the hook, as the state may still attempt to press charges against you. 

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