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Port Orchard Assault Lawyer

Assault is a serious crime in Washington State. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs reported that in 2019, an aggravated assault occurred every 37.5 minutes, and a simple assault occurred every 10.5 minutes in the state. Over 60,000 cases of assault were reported in 2019.

If you or a loved one has been charged with assault in Kitsap County, you probably have some questions.

  • What is assault?
  • Are assault and battery the same charge?
  • How serious is an assault charge?
  • Will I go to jail for assaulting someone in Port Orchard?

This website will attempt to explain the basics of assault charges in Kitsap County. If you wish to speak to an experienced Washington assault lawyer about the specifics of your case, we suggest you contact our firm immediately for a free confidential case consultation.

The benefits of working with an experienced Port Orchard assault attorney are manifest. The goal of our firm is in the guidance of you, the client, as you navigate the process of the criminal justice system in Washington. An experienced lawyer helps build the defense from the ground up, from your own stories, and from the work of the team to achieve a successful result for you. Whether your case seems hopeless or you have been wrongfully accused, an experienced assault lawyer can obtain a successful result through hard work and knowledge of the legal system in Kitsap County.

What Does Being Charged With Assault Mean in Port Orchard?

The dictionary defines assault as “a violent physical or verbal attack.” Washington state law doesn’t define “assault” in its criminal code, so state courts rely on common law, which defines assault as “intentionally inflicting unwanted harm to another person.” What may surprise you is that “harm” for the purpose of the definition not only doesn’t require an injury to the victim, it doesn’t even require physical contact. It does, however, require that the action caused the victim to fear actual harm.

The actual act of physical violence against another person is charged as Battery in Washington State. Many states, as well as television shows and movies, combine “Assault and Battery” into one charge, however in Kitsap County, each act- the threat of violence and then the violence itself is considered a separate charge.

An example of Assault in Washington State:

Billy and his wife Susan have been enjoying drinks on the patio of their favorite restaurant for most of the evening. Towards the end of the night, Susan gets upset over something, and she and Billy begin to argue. A man, Jimmy, from another table attempts to make peace between Billy and Susan. Enraged, Billy threatens to punch Jimmy if he doesn’t leave the couple alone. Jimmy continues to try and calm Billy down. Billy then stands up and tries to punch Jimmy, but because he’s drunk he misses him completely. The police are called and Billy is charged with assault in the 4th degree.

In this assault example, Billy is charged with assault because he threatened physical violence against Jimmy. If Billy had managed to actually hit Jimmy, then Billy would have been charged with both Assault and Battery.

As you can see in this example, Billy was charged with assault in the 4th degree. In Washington State, there are 4 degrees of assault charges.

  1. Assault in the 1st degree is a class A felony and is commonly referred to as “assault with a deadly weapon.” Washington State Statute RCW 9A.36.011 defines Assault in the First Degree as
    “(1) 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) Transmits HIV to a child or vulnerable adult; or
    (c) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
    (d) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm."
  2. Assault in the 2nd degree is distinguishable from assault in the first degree primarily in the amount of harm caused, and the type of harm intended to be caused. An example of assault in the second degree is causing bodily harm to an unborn child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting an injury on the mother.
  3. Assault in the 3rd degree is charged when the accused
    • Commits assault in an effort to impede a lawful order of the court or in avoidance of being taken into custody.
    • Assaults a driver of public transportation or a school bus
    • Assaults a firefighter or police officer
    • Assaults a nurse, doctor, or other healthcare providers.
  4. Assault in the 4th degree is charged when an assault occurs that does not meet the requirements of an assault in the First, Second, or Third degrees. As of March 18, 2020, Assault in the 4th degree will also be considered an act of domestic violence when the alleged victim is a family or household member or an intimate partner who has been subjected to domestic violence. A DV specification on an Assault 4 charge is likely to come with bigger penalties.

As a felony, assault charges in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree would be brought to trial at the Kitsap County Superior Court. A felony is a charge more serious than a misdemeanor and therefore carries with it a more harsh set of punishments.

Class A Felony- Punishable by at least 20 years in prison, and up to $50,000 in fines, Assault in the 1st degree, a class A felony, can also come with a lifetime prison sentence.

Class B Felony- Punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. Second-degree assault is a class B felony.

Class C Felony- Punishable by a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, Assault in the 3rd degree is a class C Felony.

Assault in the 4th degree is considered a gross misdemeanor and can be tried in either the Kitsap County District Court or the Port Orchard Municipal Court, depending upon the specifics of the charges brought against you. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

While it is understood that disagreements between people can sometimes become tense and cause them to act in ways they would not otherwise, when such actions result in aggression and harm, legal action may result.

If you have been involved in an incident like any of those described above, your intentions may have been misunderstood or the person involved may be falsely accusing you of something you did not do. Whatever the circumstances, legal representation is the first step you should take to protect yourself.

How Can a Kitsap County Assault Lawyer Help Me?

If you or a loved one has been charged with assault in Port Orchard, retaining the right criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. You could lose your freedom for years if you are not professionally defended by a seasoned criminal defense attorney.

An assault attorney in Port Orchard can lead you through the process and guide you to a successful result whether that means a plea, a trial, or a dismissal of the charges before the trial. If you have been charged with assault, you need to be able to rely on an experienced lawyer who has handled a number of assault cases in Kitsap County to get the best results based on the facts of your case.

There are many ways you can maintain your freedom after being charged with a violent offense like aggravated assault. There is even a section of the Washington State Statute, RCW 9A.16.020, that defines all of the lawful uses of force pertaining to assault charges. Many factors — such as self-defense, entrapment, insanity, or impairment — can result in a defendant’s acquittal. When defendants are wrongly accused, our team of Port Orchard assault attorneys works to prove it. Begin your progress toward freedom by reaching out to us today for a no-cost initial consultation on your case.

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