When you are charged with assault in the state of Washington, you could be facing a variety of penalties and scenarios. There are many actions that could qualify as an assault and many people are shocked when they realize they can even be convicted of assault without ever touching anyone.
Assault charges, no matter the classification, carry with them a great stigma.
Even if you are charged with 4th degree assault and didn’t harm anyone, having an assault crime on your record can give the appearance of a violent criminal, a label you want to avoid at all costs.
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Assault Laws & Penalties
Fourth Degree Assault
Assault in the 4th degree is the least serious of all assault charges. However, it still carries the potential for a jail sentence.
Under Washington law, fourth degree assault is classified as any assault not serious enough to be classified as a 3rd degree assault or higher. It is often used in plea agreements where the defendant is originally charged with a more serious assault offense but agrees to plead guilty to this crime instead.
Fourth degree assault is a gross misdemeanor. This means it is punishable by up to 364 days in jail. In most situations, however, a fourth degree assault is penalized with probation. Ref: RCW 9A.36.041
Third Degree Assault
You may be facing this serious felony charge if it’s believed you did any of the following:
- Assaulted a nurse, doctor, police officer, firefighter, public transportation operator, or school bus driver,
- Committed an assault in an effort to avoid arrest or to impede a court order, or
- Negligently caused bodily harm to someone with a weapon.
This is a Class C felony charge and could carry as much as 43 months behind bars. However, if you have a relatively clean criminal record, you may only face 1 to 3 months in prison and fines reaching $10,000.
Second Degree Assault
This assault offense is a very serious felony charge. If you are facing this particular assault charge, the prosecution likely believes you:
- Assaulted someone by strangulation,
- Tortured someone by causing pain or agony,
- Intentionally assaulted someone and inflicted substantial bodily harm,
- Assaulted someone with a deadly weapon,
- Caused harm to an unborn child by inflicting injury on the mother,
- Assaulted someone while attempting to commit another felony, or
- Poisoned someone with the intent of causing harm.
A Class B felony, Assault in the Second Degree carries a potential 3 to 12 month prison sentence for someone with a clean criminal record. However, if you have prior convictions, you could be facing several years behind bars.
First Degree Assault
The most serious of all assault charges, first degree assault is a Class A felony charge. Even if you have no criminal record at all, this charge carries 93 to 123 months behind bars and fines reaching $50,000.
You could be facing this charge if it’s believed you assaulted someone with a gun or other deadly weapon in a way that was likely to cause great bodily harm or death and you do it with the intent to cause such harm.
All assault charges in the state of Washington are treated very seriously. When facing criminal charges like these, we can help. Contact us today for an hour free consultation on your case.