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