The law defines assault as any unwanted physical contact or the threat of contact that the alleged victim considered offensive. Assault does not need to result in an actual injury for a court to review charges. Depending on the type of physical contact, the severity of the threat or contact, and whether a weapon was involved, impacts how a judge evaluates your case.
There are four degrees of assault recognized under Washington state’s law, and each can result in various penalties. No matter which type you are accused of, you should always hire a criminal defense lawyer to advocate for your rights and protect your future.
Fourth-Degree Assault Misdemeanor Penalties in WA
Fourth-degree assault is a common type of assault charge and is the only type that a judge will charge as a misdemeanor. It involves any unwanted touching. Fourth-degree assault can result in a gross misdemeanor conviction, and you can face up to a year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Third to First-Degree Assault Felony Penalties in Washington State
Washington state laws classify third, second, and first-degree assault as felonies, which leads to increased prison sentences and more expensive fines.
Potential felony penalties for assault in Washington state are:
- Third-degree assault: This Class C felony involved contact with a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or another specific public servant. A judge can sentence you to up to five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
- Second-degree assault: This Class B felony happened when you inflicted bodily harm with force or a deadly weapon. This can result in up to 10 years in prison, and up to $20,000 in fines.
- First-degree assault: The most severe type of assault, this Class A felony means that you inflicted great bodily harm with force or a deadly weapon. You may receive up to a life sentence in prison, and your fines may go up to $50,000. A first-degree assault is often described as “aggravated assault.”
Other Consequences of an Assault Conviction
In addition to the direct penalties that you receive based on the severity of the assault, you may face fines and/or jail times for any additional convictions you receive, like in some domestic violence, battery, or sex crimes cases.
An assault conviction will remain on your criminal record and can impact your employment, housing, and credit opportunities. You may also lose child custody rights in certain situations or need to register as a sex offender depending on the nature of the assault or associated charges.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney to Protect Your Rights and Future
If someone accuses you of assault, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. At Hester Law Group, our team has a successful track record of helping our clients obtain a dismissal or reduction of charges. After our initial assessment of your situation, we can recommend defense options before starting to build your case. A self-defense argument is a form of affirmative defense that many clients use against accusations of assault, but we can choose a different course of action if we find another angle that fits your circumstances more effectively.
Are you facing accusations of assault in Tacoma or its surrounding areas? Call Hester Law Group today at (253) 300-3034 or fill out our online form to schedule a criminal defense consultation.