When someone is assaulted there are four different levels of assault charges that can be brought against the attacker in Washington State. These charges are designated as assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree and assault in the fourth degree.

What Is Assault In The First Degree In Washington State?

In Washington State, a person is guilty of Assault 1 when they set out to inflict great bodily harm [1]. When the attacker uses a firearm, another deadly weapon, or deadly force in the attack to cause serious injury to the victim this qualifies as Assualt 1, which is a class A felony. Assault 1 can also encompass poisoning or exposure or transmitting of a deadly disease [2].

What Is Assault In The Second Degree In Washington State?

Assault in the second degree is a lesser charge compared to Assault 1. A person is guilty of Assault 2 when they intentionally assault another person but recklessly cause serious bodily harm to the victim [3].

Assault 2 also applies to unborn babies. A person would be guilty of Assault 2 if they intentionally cause serious bodily harm to an unborn child by injuring the mother [4].

Assault 2, which is a class B felony, also encompasses harm by torture, strangulation, and suffocating.

What Is Assault In The Third Degree In Washington State?

Assault 3, which is a class C felony, is a broader charge and applies in distinct and varied circumstances regarding many public and private employees of government or transit agencies.

This charge applies when [5]:

  • Someone resists lawful arrest or tries to prevent another from being lawfully detained.
  • Someone assaults a public or private transit operator or driver, security officer, or transit contractor while they are performing their official duties.
  • Someone assaults a school bus driver, the immediate supervisor of the driver, or security officer of a school district while they are performing their official duties.
  • When, with criminal neglience, bodily harm is caused by a weapon or other instrument.
  • When someone causes bodily harm for an extended period of time that causes excessive, unnecessary suffering and pain.
  • Someone assaults a firefighter or fire department employee while they’re performing their official duties.
  • Someone assaults a law enforcement officer or an employee of a law enforcement agency while they’re performing their official duties.
  • Assault of a licensed nurse, physician or healthcare provider while they are working.
  • Assault of any court officers while they’re performing their job. This includes a judge, bailiff, court manager, court reporter or anyone else performing official court functions. This also applies to anyone in the court, judge’s chambers or jury room at the time of the assault.

What Is Assault In The Fourth Degree In Washington State?

Assault 4 is the lesser of the four assault charges and is considered a gross misdemeanor [6].

In domestic violence cases, the attacker can be charged with Assault 4 if the violence is proven and the attacker pleads guilty. The attacker must have less than two prior adult convictions in the previous 10 years to be charged with Assault 4 [7].

Assault 4 can also encompass some harassment charges.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With Assault In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with assault in Washington State, or you’re involved in an assault case, contact the lawyers a Priest Criminal Defense right away to help you understand and build your case. Our team has years of experience navigating criminal law in Washington State and winning cases like yours.

[1] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.011

[2] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.011

[3] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.021

[4] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.021

[5] “RCW 9A.36.031 Assault In The Third Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.031

[6] “RCW 9A.36.041 Assault In The Fourth Degree.” Washington State Legislature.   https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.041

[7] “RCW 9A.36.041 Assault In The Fourth Degree.” Washington State Legislature.   https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.041

In the eyes of the law, people have a legal right to defend themselves if they feel their lives are in danger.

In the legal world, self-defense has been designed to protect people who are attacked by someone else, unprovoked. The victim in this scenario is even allowed to use deadly force in order to protect themselves if the threat they are facing is deadly.

However, the use of force for self-defense can transform into assault if deadly force is used after the aggressor has verbally communicated that they’ve given up or the threat the victim is facing is not deadly [1]. Any aggression that the victim displays at this point can be seen or charged as assault. [2]

What Are The Exceptions To Using Deadly Force In Self-Defense?

Understanding what deadly force is can help frame how self-defense can quickly turn into an assault charge. The definition of deadly force varies from state to state, but in many states, deadly force means if the force used is likely to cause death or serious injury [3].

The law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense when there is a deadly threat. So people are only allowed to use deadly force in self-defense when there is a threat of harm so great that it could cause them death or serious injury. To qualify as self-defense, a reasonable person would deem deadly force necessary in the situation. If a lesser amount of force would protect the victim, then deadly force is not warranted [4]. If a victim uses deadly force when it is not necessary, it can be charged as assault.

In some states, if there is a window to retreat the scene and flee the threat, victims may not use deadly force. In legal terms, this is known as a duty to retreat [5]. If the victim retaliates against their attacker using force when there is an opportunity to get away, this can be seen as assault.

If I Hit Someone First In Washington State, Can I Claim Self Defense?

If someone feels they are about to experience great harm or threat, they do not have to wait to use force to protect themselves [6]. For example, if someone has a baseball bat and says they’re going to hit you, you’d be allowed to hit them first, before they strike, to protect yourself. This would qualify as self-defense.

However, let’s say you encounter someone you’ve had a physical fight with in the past. You’re worried this person will strike you again, but they have not made any verbal threats. You can’t hit them first to protect yourself because there is no real threat of imminent danger.

What Should I Do If I Acted In Self Defense But Have Been Charged With Assault In Washington State?

If you were in an altercation and you believe you were acting in self-defense, but have been charged with assault, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Priest Criminal Defense immediately. Our team of experts have experience defending those that acted in self-defense and can help you present your best defense.

[1] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Limits On Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/limits-on-self-defense.html

[2] “Self Defense Law: Overview.” Find Law. https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/self-defense-overview.html

[3] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/criminal-defenses-self-defense.html

[4] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/criminal-defenses-self-defense.html

[5] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/criminal-defenses-self-defense.html

[6] Bergman, Paul. “Can I claim self defense if I hit someone first?” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-claim-self-defense-i-hit-someone.html

When an attacker commits a physical assault with an object, that can cause death or serious bodily injury because of how it is designed, this is charged as an assault with a deadly weapon [1]. In Washington States and all other 49 states, assault with a deadly weapon is classified as a felony.

How Is Assault With A Deadly Weapon Charge Classified In Washington State?

In Washington State, assault with a deadly weapon is considered to be an Assault 1 charge, which is classified as a class A felony, or an Assault 2 charge, which is a class B felony [2] [3].

Assault 1 would be applied because the attacker intended to produce great bodily harm or death using the object. Assault 1 also automatically applies if the deadly weapon is a firearm. Assault 2 would be applied if the attacker’s original intent was not great bodily harm.

What Is Considered A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

When thinking about a deadly weapon, your mind might go to a gun or a knife. These are both considered deadly weapons, but in court, the prosecutor wouldn’t need to prove these to be deadly weapons to a jury because it’s evident [4]. But the legal definition for what constitutes a deadly weapon is much broader than these obvious items.

In legal terms, deadly weapons are considered objects that can cause substantial bodily harm. This can be a car or a baseball bat because if you drive into someone or hit them in the head with a baseball bat it can be deadly.

Depending on how the attacker uses certain objects, everyday items can be escalated to deadly weapons in court, such as shoes, rocks, or pocketknives [4].

The human body can also be seen as a deadly weapon, based on the amount of force applied during the attack or diseases the body carries, such as HIV. If the attacker is HIV positive and has unprotected sex with someone without disclosing their status, this can be charged as Assault 1 with a deadly weapon [4].

What Is The Punishment For Assault With A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

The punishment for assaulting someone with a deadly weapon will vary based on the force used and the injuries inflicted on the victim. Since assault with a deadly weapon is considered a felony, there is a high risk of prison time. In addition to or instead of prison time, the defendant may be fined. The defendant’s previous record will also be considered during sentencing.

In general, in Washington State class A felonies can carry up to a life sentence in prison and class B felonies can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Charged With Assault With A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reach out to the team at Priest Criminal Law immediately. Our team of esteemed attorneys have years of experience defending Assault 1 charges. We can help you build your best case with the goal of an acquittal or a lesser sentence.

 

[1] Portman, Janet. “Assault With A Deadly Weapon.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Assault-Deadly-Weapon.htm

[2] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.011

[3] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.021

[4] Portman, Janet. “Assault With A Deadly Weapon.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Assault-Deadly-Weapon.htm

 

 

Domestic Violence in vancouver waVictims of domestic violence have been subjected to harrowing events over extended periods of time. The most important way to help break the cycle of violence is by building multi-layer support structures to allow those effected to begin a new, better phase in their lives. Hiring an experienced attorney is an important part of your support team.

Domestic Violence and the Law

Although domestic violence is almost universally covered in state and federal law, it is extremely complex and working within the system almost without exceptions, brings out the worst in the people involved. There are many issues regarding the proper timing and maintenance of court orders so that you and your loved ones are protected to the fullest extent possible. Having experienced professionals helping you keep track of your legal obligations can help you better utilize your other support resources throughout your journey.

Role Your Attorney Plays in Protecting You from Domestic Violence

Although it is possible for you to get an emergency court order to protect you from the your current situation, there are several legal instruments and procedures that an attorney can assist greatly with that you probably can’t do yourself. Even if it is possible to do some things yourself, it is important for you to realize that you almost certainly won’t be able to do everything you need to without help. Part of getting better is knowing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. Things your attorney can do include:

  1. File a protection or no-contact order
  2. Get a divorce
  3. File a lawsuit against the violent party
  4. Help with custody proceedings
  5. The Importance of Emotional and Health Support

Domestic violence leaves both physical and emotional pain that will eventually need to be addressed to build your new life. Working with qualified health professionals such as licensed therapists who offer both group and individual therapy sessions is absolutely critical for dealing with the mental and emotional fallout from the trauma you have suffered. And, unfortunately, working with health professionals to repair the physical injuries is often necessary. Without adequate support here, legal support, no matter how comprehensive, likely won’t be enough to maximize the chances of success.

By getting support from health and legal professionals along with the force of our legal system, victims can get past the nightmares of the past and look forward to a bright new future. Give us a call today if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs the protection of the courts.

Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Vancouver WA is a serious charge that can have severe repercussions in your life.

Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Vancouver WA is a serious charge that can have severe repercussions in your life.

Van-Wa-bicicle-dui

You can get a DUI on a bicycle as Washington prohibits driving any vehicle under the influence.

A Washington DUI can lead to a license suspension in various ways.  They law is complicated, so it is easy to feel lost when understanding the possible consequences.

Do you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)? Then you suffer from a health condition that can make you more susceptible to being falsely accused of a DUI.

Things-to-remember-in-a-washington-dui-investigation

What are my rights? What are my obligations if I’m pulled over by the police for a DUI? Basically, What do I have to do and what don’t I have to do?  It’s just a good question because it can be scary to deal with the police but the first right that you should always consider is your right to be quiet.