Washington’s Law Against Assault with a Deadly Weapon

If you’re being accused of using a deadly weapon in an attempt to harm or actually harm another person, you will face assault charges. You can face charges for first, second, or third-degree assault crimes, depending on the severity of your actions.

Facing criminal assault charges can be frightening, and the consequences of a conviction are devastating. Prosecutors will likely push for the harshest possible penalty that could adversely affect your life and future. So, this is a situation you don’t want to face alone. Contact a skilled Seattle criminal justice attorney to help you create a solid defense strategy.

Penalties for Weapon Crime Charges

The penalties for assault involving a deadly weapon depend on whether you face first, second, or third-degree assault charges. The punishments are as follows:

  • Class A felony: The penalties are for first-degree assault and entail a fine of $50,000 and up to life in prison
  • Class B felony: The sentences are for second-degree assault and entail a $20,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison
  • Class C felony: These penalties are for third-degree assault, comprising a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

These are the most extended imprisonment terms and the highest fines you can get for the respective charges. Imprisonment curtails your life and deprives you of your freedom to work and live with your family. The penalties could also cost you thousands of dollars, denting your finances. That’s why you should have a defense strategy that works to protect your life and rights.

An aggressive weapons crimes lawyer in Seattle can fight to help you get lower sentences. Sometimes, they can adequately challenge the prosecutor’s evidence to have the charges against you dropped.

What Are the Possible Defenses to Weapon Crime Charges?

Courts allow people accused of weapon crimes to defend themselves against the charges. Several legal defenses are permissible during criminal proceedings. They are the basis upon which the jury will deliberate whether you’re guilty. The strategies are outlined in RCA 9A. 16. They can save you from a costly conviction if you qualify to use them.

Consult experienced Seattle weapons crimes attorneys for legal counsel on how to use these defense strategies to your advantage:

Self-Defense and Defense of Others

Using a deadly weapon against another person is illegal, but using it to defend yourself against an attack may be a defense in court. Your criminal justice attorney in Seattle can help you prove that you didn’t act as an attacker, murderer, or instigator but reacted to protect yourself.

The law stipulates that anyone who acts in self-defense should not be placed in legal jeopardy for protecting themselves by any reasonable means necessary. In that light, you have a high chance of having the charges dropped if you can prove the following:

  • Someone was about to hurt you, or you believe someone was about to injure you
  • You were trying to prevent a “mentally incompetent person” from hurting someone else
  • You were a law enforcement officer performing your legal duties or assisting another officer when the assault happened.
  • You were trying to accomplish a citizen’s arrest of a felon to deliver them to law enforcement.

You also must have used the force necessary to defend yourself or someone else. Your Seattle weapons crime attorney can review these instances with you to determine the one that best applies to your case. Evaluating the strategies can be complex, so you need the input and skills of experienced weapons crimes attorneys in Seattle.

Defense of Property

Under certain circumstances, a person may use force or a weapon to defend against a malicious trespass or personal or real property interference. So, if someone attempted to enter your home or damage your property with an evil intention, you can defend your property by force. However, not using more force than necessary to protect your property also applies.

Stand Your Ground Defense Strategy

Also known as “no duty to retreat law,” the stand-your-ground law is a legal justification that allows you to use force or a weapon without retreating to protect and defend yourself against threats or perceived threats. The doctrine allows a person lawfully permitted to be where they are to use the force necessary to protect themselves from danger.

Courts in Washington State have consistently upheld citizens’ rights to remain in a lawful location. Flight is not required as a reasonable alternative to violence. Consult your attorney to evaluate if this strategy applies to your case and how to use it to effectively fight your weapon crimes charges.

Exceptions to Self-Defense Laws

The law permits using force in certain situations, but there are gray areas around the self-defense strategy. To avoid being committed, you must prove that your actions were reasonable, given the specific circumstances.

For example, shooting and killing someone who pulled into your driveway to turn their car around would certainly not be considered reasonable. Your actions would also not be considered reasonable if you instigated the violence or were committing a crime when you assaulted someone else.

However, if someone pointed their gun at you and threatened to kill you, using your weapon against them to defend yourself would be considered reasonable. It is up to the prosecution to prove your guilt, and skilled defense attorneys can fight to show your innocence.

Fight Against a Weapons Charge Using Professional Help

You acted in self-defense but now face severe criminal charges for assaulting someone using a weapon. What lies ahead is a storm that may not blow away soon. You must fight aggressively to defend yourself to prove your innocence by showing you didn’t act out of malice. You can win the case by having the legal representation of criminal defense attorneys in Seattle.

The weapons crime attorney at the Law Offices of Kevin Trombold can defend you. Our law firm has defended many clients accused of weapon crimes in Seattle and helped them secure their freedom. We can help you too. Call us at 206-590-7667 for a FREE consultation.