There are four degrees of Assault in the State of Washington.  The penalties from assault sometimes range from a simple fine to the potential of life in prison depending on the degree.  Furthermore, in the State of Washington, the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Assault that occurred was not in self-defense.  Thus, if you are being accused of an assault, you need an experienced, aggressive and compassionate trial lawyer that will pursue all of your statutory and Constitutional defenses.

Assault in the First Degree

A person is guilty of Assault in the First degree if with the intent to inflict great bodily harm, he or she assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death or Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.  Assault in the First degree can also be committed by exposing or transmitting another person to the HIV virus or any other destructive or noxious substance or poison.  Assault in the First degree is a Class A Felony punishable up to life in prison and a $50,000.  It is also considered a “strike” offense.  In the State of Washington, anyone convicted of three strike offenses is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Assault in the Second Degree

There are several ways to commit Assault in the Second degree.  1.  Any intentional assault that recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm. 2. Assault with a deadly weapon (regardless of whether harm is inflicted).  3. Administration of poison or other destructive or noxious substance with the intent to inflict bodily harm. 4. Assault on a person with the intent to commit a felony. 5. Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain and agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture. 6. Assault another by strangulation or suffocation.

Assault by strangulation or suffocation has become a popular charge for prosecutors in Kitsap County.  Some would say that anytime an assault is committed where the perpetrator touches the neck or the alleged victim, Kitsap county prosecutors charge Assault in the Second Degree.  These cases which some feel are no more than assault in the fourth degree type-assaults are routinely charged as Felony Assaults in Washington State.  Assault in the Second Degree is a “strike” offense.  It is a Class B Felony punishable up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Assault in the Third Degree

There are several ways to commit Assault in the Third Degree. They are:  Any assault when attempting to prevent or resist execution of lawful process; Assault upon a school bus driver, immediate supervisor of a driver, a mechanic, or a security officer employed by a school district transportation service or private company performing such service while the person is performing his or her official duties; with criminal negligence, causing bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm; Assault of a firefighter or employee of a fire department when such person 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; assault on a law enforcement officer or other law enforcement employee who was performing their official duties; assault on a peace officer with a projectile stun gun; Or assault on a nurse, physician, or health care provider who was performing his or her duties; assault on a judicial officer, court-related employee while that person is performing their official duties; Assault of a person located 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 if signage was posted in compliance with RCW 2.28.200 at the time of the assault. Assault in the Third Degree is a Class C Felony punishable up to Five years in Prison and a $10,000 fine.

As you can see, there are many instances where a simple Assault can turn into a Felony Assault simply because of the person you assaulted.  The most common situation is when security guards try to apprehend a shoplifter and the shoplifter resists in any way.  Simply spitting on or pushing a protected employee quickly becomes a Felony Assault subject to loss of civil rights and potential jail time.  If you have been accused of Assault on a protected employee, you need aggressive representation.  Call us today.

Assault in the Fourth Degree

A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree if, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first, second, or third degree, or custodial assault, he or she assaults another. Assault in the fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Assault 4 is known as simple assault.  An Assault is any harmful or offensive contact; this includes objects that are attached to a person’s body or in their possession like hats or cups.  One of the most common types of Assault charged by prosecutors is Assault 4 Domestic Violence (DV).  See our Domestic Violence tab for a better understanding of DV crimes.  Although Assault 4 is a gross misdemeanor offense, it still can have far reaching consequences.  For instance, most medical jobs do not allow people who have been convicted of Assault IV to be employed in situations where they will be alone with a patient.  Many trades will not hire a person that has to go into customer’s homes if they are convicted of an Assault 4.  Additionally, most school districts will not allow a parent to chaperone field trips if they have been convicted of an Assault 4.  Thus, Assault 4 is a serious offense.  If you have been charged with an Assault, you need an experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyer.  Call or write us today for a free consultation.