If you or a loved one has been charged with assault in Thurston County, you probably have some questions.
- What is assault?
- Is threatening someone considered assault in Washington State?
- Is assault considered a violent crime?
- Will I go to jail for assaulting someone in Tumwater?
Most people assume that you could not be charged with assault when no physical injury occurred. 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.” This means that in the state of Washington, an individual can be charged with assault when any unwanted or offensive physical contact occurs.
Assault charges in Washington include not only those which cause significant bodily injury to a victim but also crimes in which harm is merely threatened or implied. In many cases, a threat of harm with the apparent ability to carry through with the threat is grounds enough for a criminal charge.
If you have been charged with assault in Tumwater, you are likely facing penalties such as heavy fines, probation, jail time, and loss of other personal freedoms like firearms and job safety. Knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel is necessary for ensuring the protection of your rights during investigation and prosecution. Our team of Thurston County assault defense lawyers has a proven track record that demonstrates our commitment to protecting defendants' rights and to providing our clients with the highest quality legal services and defense representation available.
This website will attempt to explain the basics of assault charges in Thurston County. If you wish to speak to an experienced Tumwater assault lawyer about the specifics of your case, we suggest you contact our firm immediately for a free confidential case consultation.The Many Ways Thurston County Defines Assault Charges
Which of the following scenarios, if any, is an example of assault in Washington State?
A) Sam is walking home from work when a stranger in a mask stops her. The stranger shows Sam a gun and tells her to give him all of her money or else. She gives him her wallet and he runs away without shooting her, or even touching her.
B) Jake has a headache and wants to leave work early. His boss, Carl, insists that Jake stays at work. Jake decides to punish Carl by putting peanut butter in Carl’s lunch because he knows Carl is allergic to nuts, and that the peanut butter will likely make Carl very sick.
C) Billy is drinking with some friends at a bar when he spots a pretty blonde girl at the other end of the bar. Full of liquid courage, Billy decides the best course of action is to grab her butt as he walks by on his way to the bathroom.
D) Jan is volunteering as a clown for a local charity’s children’s festival. While making a balloon animal for a child, an angry parent interrupts Jan and demands that she make a balloon for her child. Jan tries to explain that there’s a line, but the angry parent continues to insist. Jan asks the parent to leave, and the parent says to Jan “You better hope I don’t see you in the parking lot after this.”
If you aren’t sure of the answer, read the summary of Washington State Assault charges listed below and then see if you can figure out the answer.
In Washington State, there are 4 degrees of assault charges.
- 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.
- 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 injury on the mother.
- Assault in the 3rd degree is charged when the accused
- Commits assault 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.
- Assaults a volunteer, staff member, or educational personnel
- 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 Thurston County Superior Court, located in Olympia. 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 would be tried in the Thurston County District Court, also located in Olympia. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
No attorney can ethically guarantee a dismissal or acquittal. We can, however, guarantee that we will do everything within our power to secure the best result for your case. Our team of Tumwater criminal assault lawyers is dedicated to defendants' rights, and we work diligently on our clients' behalf. We handle each case with discretion and treat each individual we represent with dignity.How Can a Thurston County Assault Lawyer Help Me?
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 Thurston County to get the best results based on the facts of your case.
Specific defense strategies vary depending on the crime or crimes with which a defendant is charged and the unique circumstances for each case. 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. Our attorneys closely evaluate each case to determine the optimal strategies for defense, and we are committed to obtaining the best result possible.
You are innocent unless proven guilty. Contact our firm of Tumwater criminal assault lawyers today for a free case consultation. Let us help you protect your innocence and preserve your rights.