Assault

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC has successful experience representing those charged with Assault in all degrees, including assaults with deadly weapons. Ashbach Law Offices has established a strong reputation in particular with domestic violence assaults.

If you, or someone you care about, has been charged (or may be) with Assault in King County, Skagit County, Snohomish County, or Whatcom County, call Ashbach Law Offices, LLC today at (360) 659-4950 for a free, no-pressure case evaluation.

The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with assault offenses throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.
General Considerations
The Washington State Legislature has not defined the term “assault,” so courts have construed its meaning to be either a) the intentional harmful touching of another, b) the intentional offensive touching of another or c) the intention to create apprehension of a harmful or offensive touching of another. This definition is quite expansive and often results in assault allegations to the surprise of the person charged.

“Bodily injury” is any physical pain or injury, illness or impairment of the alleged victim’s physical condition, however minor or temporary. An offensive, or unlawful, touching without injury is a touching that is not consented to, or otherwise privileged, and is either harmful or offensive.

Assault charges may have specific defenses available, depending on the degree of Assault that is charged.

Many Assault charges are designated as “domestic violence” offenses. For the domestic violence tag to apply, the alleged victim must fall under the definition of “family or household member,” which is quite broad. Domestic violence is addressed further in detail in that section of this website.

There are four degrees of Assault Charges. First, Second and Third are all Felonies. Assault in the Fourth Degree is a Gross Misdemeanor. The injury allegedly sustained, the methods alleged to have been used, and whether any weapons are alleged, determine what degree is typically charged.

Assault in the Fourth Degree
Assault in the Fourth Degree (or 4th Degree Assault) is the most commonly charged in Washington’s district or municipal courts. It is a Gross Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine upon conviction.

Often called “simple assault,” Assault in the Fourth Degree is any assault that is not First, Second or Third Degree.

It is a defense to Assault in the Fourth Degree that the assault was privileged or lawful. An example would be reasonable force to restrain or discipline a child. Self-defense is another common defense to all assault charges, but the amount of force used must be reasonable under the circumstances.

Self-defense applies even if a resulting injury occurs to a third party.

 


Assault in the First Degree is a Class A Felony; even with no prior criminal history, conviction has a standard sentencing range of 93-123 month is prison. Under RCW 9A.36.011, A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm:

  • (a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or
  • (b) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, the human immunodeficiency virus as defined in chapter 70.24 RCW, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
  • (c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.

Assault in the Second Degree is a Class B Felony; with no prior criminal history, conviction has a standard sentencing range of 3-9 month is prison.

Under RCW 9A.36.021, a person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree:

  • (1)  A person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree:
    • (a)  Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or
    • (b)  Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or
    • (c)  Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or
    • (d)  With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
    • (e)  With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or
    • (f)  Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or
    • (g)  Assaults another by strangulation.
  •    (2) (a)  Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, assault in the second degree is a class B felony.
    • (b)  Assault in the second degree with a finding of sexual motivation under RCW 9.94A.835 or 13.40.135 is a class A felony.

Assault in the Third Degree is a Class C Felony; With no prior offenses, a person convicted of this crime faces a standard sentencing range of 1-3 months.

Under RCW 9A.36.031, A person is guilty of assault in the third degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first or second degree:

  • (a)  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 himself or another person, assaults another; or
  • (b)  Assaults a person employed as 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 his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
  • (c)  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; or
  • (d)  With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm; or
  • (e)  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 his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
  • (f)  With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; or
  • (g)  Assaults a law enforcement officer or other employee of a law enforcement agency who was performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
  • (h)  Assaults a peace officer with a projectile stun gun; or
  • (i)  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. For purposes of this subsection: “Nurse” means a person licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW; “physician” means a person licensed under chapter 18.57 or 18.71 RCW; and “health care provider” means a person certified under chapter 18.71 or 18.73 RCW who performs emergency medical services or a person regulated under Title 18 RCW and employed by, or contracting with, a hospital licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW.
  • (2)  Assault in the third degree is a class C felony.

Fourth Degree Assault is probably the most common assault committed and/or charged. It is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine. It often comes with the “domestic violence” tag, which means (among other things) loss of firearm rights upon conviction. Four Degree Assault is a “catch-all” assault, encompassing all assaults not specifically defined in First through Third Degrees.

Under RCW 9A.36.041, 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.


 

 

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with assault offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.