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.
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 Third Degree
Assault in the Third Degree is a Class C Felony. This degree assault does not always require the actor to have intended an assault, such as the case with “criminal negligence.” It may be alleged many ways, including:
a) an assault during the resist of a lawful arrest
b) assaulting a transit driver while that person is on duty
c) assaulting a school bus driver
d) with criminal negligence, causing bodily harm to another with a weapon or other instrument likely to produce bodily harm
e) assaulting a firefighter or police officer performing his or her duties
f) with criminal negligence, causing bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering
g) assaulting medical personnel or a judicial officer performing his or her duties
h) some assaults in a courtroom
Assault in the Second Degree
Assault in the Second Degree is a Class B Felony. However, in situations involving a finding of sexual motivation, it may be charged as a Class A Felony.
Assault in the Second Degree may be alleged many ways, including:
a) intentionally assaulting another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm
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
c) assaults another with a deadly weapon
d) with intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance
e) with intent to commit a felony, assaults another
f) knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture
g) assaults another by strangulation or suffocation
Assault in the First Degree
Assault in the First Degree is a Class A Felony. A person with no criminal history would, assuming no extenuating circumstances, face 93-123 months for a first-time conviction.
Assault in the First Degree requires the intent to inflict “great bodily harm,” and methods of allegedly committing this crime include:
a) assaulting another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death
b) administering, exposing or transmitting to or causing to be taken by another, poison, the human immunodeficiency virus as defined in chapter 70.24 RCW or any other destructive or noxious substance
c) assaulting another and inflicts great bodily harm
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.