Charged With Assault? Call Emerald City
Our criminal defense attorneys in Seattle will sit down with you and listen to your side of the story. We will investigate the situation and determine exactly what happened, and then make sure the prosecution, judge, or jury knows accurate details. By presenting a strong defense from the very beginning, it may be the difference in avoiding a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The cost of legal representation is greatly outweighed by the benefit of having your charge dismissed or sentence reduced and mitigating the collateral consequences involved in a criminal conviction.
Allegations of assault may arise after a simple disagreement or misunderstanding. If you are facing criminal charges, you need help from our dedicated Seattle assault lawyers to defend your rights, help you through the complex legal process, and work towards achieving the best possible outcome.
What is Assault?
Sometimes the term “assault” is used interchangeably with other offenses. In Washington, assault may involve any of the following:
- Battery – Intentional infliction of great bodily harm to another person
- Attempted battery – Attempting to intentionally inflict great bodily harm on another person
- Creating an apprehension of bodily harm – Making someone believe that you may intentionally inflict great bodily harm on another person
Factors such as the circumstances involved, the alleged victim, and any aggravating factors will determine the degree or severity of the assault, which in turn will affect the penalties.
Degrees of Assault in Washington
Your Seattle assault charges may be described as aggravated, sexual, or domestic. Washington law designates assault into four degrees:
- Fourth-degree assault (RCW 9A.36.041), commonly called “simple assault,” is the most common assault charge, and it can be filed against someone who simply strikes or makes unwanted contact upon another. This charge is typical in domestic violence cases or fights that occur in a public place. Fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor, and it may be punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. If your misdemeanor assault was considered domestic violence, you will also be ineligible to possess a firearm for life.
- Third-degree assault (RCW 9A.36.031) charges may be imposed when someone assaults a law enforcement officer, transit officer, firefighter, or official such as a judicial officer. This charge is often filed against someone who strikes a police officer while resisting arrest. Third-degree assault is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A felony conviction will also make you ineligible to possess a firearm in Washington.
- Second-degree assault (RCW 9A.36.021) charges follow when a person is thought to have recklessly inflicted substantial bodily harm upon another. Oftentimes the use of a deadly weapon is an element of this crime. Second-degree assault is usually a class B felony, but it may become a class A felony if found to be sexually motivated. This charge may carry a sentence of incarceration for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000. Use of a weapon can make this crime a “substantial criminality” that can restrict travel to Canada.
- First-degree assault (RCW 9A.36.011) occurs when someone commits a crime with intent to inflict great bodily harm, uses a deadly weapon, or uses some means that is determined to likely result in great bodily harm or death. This degree of assault is a class A felony, and you might be facing up to life in prison and a fine of $50,000 if convicted. First-degree assault charges are often described as “aggravated assault.”
Many defendants feel that their assault charges are too severe or are completely unwarranted. If you have been arrested for assault, it is important to contact an assault and battery attorney as soon as possible. With aggressive legal counsel, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped and avoid a lengthy prison sentence and a serious criminal record.
Domestic Violence and Assault Charges
Domestic violence often involves assault charges being filed against someone who was present in the home at the time of the incident. Washington law requires police officers responding to a domestic issue to make an arrest if they believe that an assault may have recently occurred. These situations often require the police to choose a side in the dispute, and you may be arrested simply because the other person called 911 first.
An assault conviction resulting from a domestic dispute can be devastating for you and your family, and it might result in you not being able to return home or losing custody of your children. Our Seattle criminal defense law firm has experience representing those facing accusations of assault in Seattle, including:
- Aggravated Assault
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Assault
- Vehicular Assault
- Child Abuse
- Spousal Abuse
- Deadly Assault with a Weapon
Building Your Assault Defense Against Assault Charges
Being charged with assault can be a jarring experience, especially if you were caught up in a difficult situation, a victim of mistaken identity, or simply defending yourself. It is very common for confusion and fear to overwhelm someone arrested for assault, and this can lead to being talked into an unnecessary plea agreement with the prosecutor. To protect your rights, our Seattle assault lawyers will work with you to review the facts and determine the best way to proceed with your defense. If evidence was collected illegally or searches were conducted without proper warrants, your legal counsel may be able to keep inappropriate evidence from being used against you.
Your Seattle assault charge defense may begin with an investigation that involves statements from witnesses and a thorough history of both you and the alleged victim. If conflicting accounts of the incident are noted or if the alleged victim has a violent criminal history, we may include this information in our defense. We will explore every detail of your case to develop the best possible strategy for your defense.
How our Seattle Assault Lawyers Can Help You
A conviction for assault can have a huge impact on your life. In addition to a possible prison sentence and large fines, it will leave a haunting mark on your permanent criminal record that can limit your personal and professional life for years to come. Police and prosecutors face a lot of confusion at the beginning of many assault cases, and this can result in very serious charges being filed and rights being violated. At Emerald City Law Group, our Seattle assault lawyers believe in those rights and are committed to proving every client with the strongest possible defense.
You need a strong advocate to speak for you. If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, call our Seattle assault lawyers from Emerald City Law Group at 206-973-0407 or contact us online to discuss your case during a free consultation.