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

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