Bellevue Assault Lawyers
What are the Consequences of an Assault Conviction?
Arrested for assault? An assault charge is taken seriously in the state of Washington. Forcefully touching anyone, whether or not it results in bodily injury, can warrant harsh legal penalties.
Depending on the level of assault you are charged with, the consequences of a conviction can include, but are not limited to:
- Jail time
- Loss of firearms
- No-Contact Orders (NCO)
- Mandatory completion of court-ordered classes (i.e., Anger management, domestic violence courses, and alcohol/drug treatment)
- The stigma of having a physical, possibly violent, conviction on your record
While an assault conviction is usually not a bar to gaining employment, it surely can and often will be considered by employers when they screen job candidates. For these reasons, you should retain an attorney capable of ensuring that your assault charge doesn’t result in a conviction. That said, we strongly encourage you to contact our Bellevue assault attorneys at Veitch Ault Defense for strong legal defense. When you hire our firm, we will fight tooth and nail to minimize or eliminate your legal punishment.
What Are the Charges for Assault in Washington?
Before we dive into the types of assault charges in Washington State, we first want to cover the definition of assault. There is no set definition of assault in Washington. However, it generally means any harmful or offensive touching that may or may not result in bodily injury. Assaults that inflict some degree of bodily injury are typically penalized harsher than assaults that do not involve bodily injury. Nonetheless, the penalties for assault in Washington can be devastating.
RCW Assault in the 1st Degree
he Revised Code of Washington defines 1st-degree assault as a person who does the following with the intent to inflict great bodily harm:
- Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death
- Transmits HIV to a child or vulnerable adult
- Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance
- Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm
First-degree assault is a class A felony in Washington State. The punishment upon conviction is a maximum $50,000 fine and/or up to life in prison.
RCW Second-Degree Assault
The RCW states that a person commits 2nd-degree assault if they do any of the following under circumstances not amounting to first-degree assault:
- Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm
- Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon their mother
- Assaults another with a deadly weapon
- With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance
- With intent to commit a felony, assaults another
- Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture
- Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation
If a person is found guilty of committing any of the above acts, except for harming an unborn child by assaulting the mother, they will be convicted of a class B felony punishable by a $30,000 fine and/or up to 10 years in prison.
Assault in the Third Degree in Washington State
According to RCW 9A.36.031, third-degree assault in Washington State occurs when a person commits any of the following acts under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first or second degree:
- Assaults another with intent to prevent or resist the execution of any lawful process or mandate of any court officer or the lawful apprehension or detention of themselves or another person
- Assaults a transit operator or driver, the immediate supervisor of a transit operator or driver, a mechanic, or a security officer, by a public or private transit company or a contracted transit service provider, while that person is performing their official duties
- Assaults a school bus driver, the immediate supervisor of a driver, a mechanic, or a security officer, employed by a school district transportation service or a private company under contract for transportation services with a school district, while the person is performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault
- With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm to another person with a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm
- Assaults a firefighter or other employee of a fire department, county fire marshal’s office, county fire prevention bureau, or fire protection district who was performing their official duties
- With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering
- Assaults a law enforcement officer or another employee of a law enforcement agency who was performing their official duties
- Assaults a peace officer with a projectile stun gun
- Assaults a nurse, physician, or health care provider who was performing his or her nursing or health care duties at the time of the assault
- Assaults a judicial officer, court-related employee, county clerk, or county clerk’s employee, while that person is performing their official duties or as a result of that person’s employment in the judicial system
- Assaults a person in a courtroom, jury room, judge’s chamber, or any waiting area or corridor immediately adjacent to a courtroom, jury room, or judge’s chamber
RCW 4th Degree Assault
The least serious level of assault, fourth-degree assault in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Assault in the fourth degree is the most common assault charge in our state and occurs when a person intentionally touches another in a harmful or offensive manner.
Unlike some of the other assault charges, noticeable bodily injury does not need to occur for an offense to have been committed. As a result, the alleged victim’s statement or anticipated testimony is often the most important aspect of the prosecutor’s case.
Possible Defenses to Assault Charges in Washington State
Given the serious nature and long-term impact of an assault charge, let alone a conviction, it’s important to retain a lawyer who has experience and competence in defending these particular charges. A seasoned assault defense attorney can do a number of things to combat an assault charge, including:
- Obtaining 911 call evidence
- Obtaining the investigating officers’ training records about the charges
- Establishing an alleged victim’s potential motive
- Interviewing all witnesses (not just those who support the prosecuting agency’s charge)
- Proving the accused acted within their legal right to defend themselves, their property, or another person
Depending on the nature of your case and the circumstances that led to your charges, our Bellevue assault defense lawyers can explore the best possible defenses to your assault accusations. Among the most common defenses to assault include:
- Defense of others
- Defense of property
- Consent (i.e., high-contact sports)
With these common defenses in mind, you should have some confidence knowing that you have options. Not all hope is lost. When you put our firm on your side, you will get 40 combined years of experience, award-winning advocacy, honest communication, and uncompromising dedication to your best interests.
Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help.
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Lynnwood, WA 98036
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