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Can first degree assault charges be dropped in a preliminary hearing phase in Maryland?

Rockville, MD |
Filed under: Criminal charges

My 5'8" college aged son was bullied in a fast food joint by a 6'4" guy who asked him to meet him outside (to fight). When my son got his order, the guy left at the same time and continued name-calling and bullying him, telling him to "come on" (implying to fight). My son asked him why was he doing this, then the big guy hiked up his pants, getting into a fight stance. As a knee-jerk reaction, my son swung and grazed his coat sleeve. My husband broke it up, but the big guy 6 weeks later pressed 1st degree assault charges. What can my son expect at the preliminary hearing? The big guy lied & said he was hit in the head but on his Instagram he's showing pictures of him and he's fine and my husband was a witness as he was there. Will the difference in the boys' size influence the judge?

Will the fact it took him 6 weeks to file charges make a difference?

Attorney Answers 6


The answer to your original question is yes, first degree can be dropped. However, there are a myriad of other charges the State will most likely try to pursue. Many of these cases are won on the facts, and you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

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The defense is not permitted to present evidence at a Preliminary Hearing. In addition, the State can skip the hearing by taking the case to a grand jury. If there is a Preliminary hearing, your son should not go there without a lawyer.

The materials contained in this answer are provided as a public service and on an informational basis. These materials are not intended to be a comprehensive statement of Maryland law, and are not intended to convey legal advice. I answer all questions. However, this does not constitute legal representation. I am not your lawyer until you pay me money. If you have a legal problem, you should consult with an attorney who can investigate the particular circumstances of your situation. If you need an attorney, you may contact me 410-828-9363 and I will be more than happy to give you a free initial consultation.

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Your son needs an attorney to represent him given the serious nature of the charges. If he cannot afford a private attorney, he should contact the Public Defender right away and no later than 10 business days before trial or they will not represent him.

Do not post any details on AVVO since this is a public forum. Have your son consult with an attorney at once. No one can tell you what will happen in the case based upon the information provided.

Do not assume the fact that your son was smaller will make a difference. Print the photos from Instagram.

This answer is being given for general informational purposes only and is not protected by the attorney-client privilege since this is a public forum. The information provided does not create an attorney-client relationship. No communications with me on this forum shall be construed as arising out of an attorney-client relationship. If a client needs specific legal advice or opinions, he or she should retain counsel for advice or to undertake representation.

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Yes, it is possible, but it is also unlikely.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to go to trial. Consider seeking a confidential consultation.

Information in the reply is provided as a public service. It is neither a comprehensive statement of the law nor legal advice, and no one should rely on it as such. If you have a legal problem or question, you should consult with an attorney, who can investigate the particular circumstances of your situation. Responding to a post does not constitute legal representation. I am not your lawyer, until we make an agreement and I receive my fee. Beware that posts and replies are not confidential. Anyone can read them.

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All of this will make a difference, and yes the charge can be dropped at the P.H. stage. In fact, if this is a citizen complaint and we can successfully show that the tall guy is full of crap, the entire case could potentially be dropped at that stage.

Nothing posted by Mr. Cleckner on Avvo or in response to an Avvo question or request is intended to be considered legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. For actual legal advice, please contact an attorney for a (usually free) in-depth consultation where your entire situation can be evaluated.

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Your son needs to hire a criminal defense lawyer now. The earlier his lawyer raises the prosecutor's attention to the weaknesses in the prosecution's case and the strengths of your son's case, hopefully the sooner your son's risk exposure can be reduced. All the best. Jon

None of my comments on AVVO's website constitute legal advice. It is only food for thought for matters to address with a qualified laywer. My website's disclaimer page at applies to all my answers on .

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