Assault in Seattle can take many forms, from acts of violence to slapping someone during a heated argument. Being charged with assault can be overwhelming and upsetting. Whether it was a reaction to provocation, self-defense, or a lapse in judgment, you’ll need an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and fight for you.

In Washington State, not all acts of criminal assault are handled the same way. Different degrees of assault carry different penalties. Some of the penalties of assault in Washington State are jail time, fines, and probation.

What Are the Penalties for Assault in Washington State?

Assault penalties range from first-degree to fourth-degree assault charges. First-degree assault is the most serious charge, while fourth-degree assault in Washington is the lowest assault charge but with relatively serious consequences.

Fourth Degree Assault Charge Penalties

Fourth-degree assault is commonly regarded as simple assault and is the most common assault charge. It can be filed when someone makes unwanted contact with another or against one who simply strikes another.

It is a gross misdemeanor which is more severe than a regular misdemeanor. It is punishable by 364 days in jail and may also be accompanied by a fine of up to $5,000. You will lose the right to possess a firearm, and you may receive a no-contact order which forbids you from interacting with the victim. You may also receive a court order forcing you to enroll in anger management or drug treatment classes.

Third Degree Assault Charge Penalties

A third-degree assault charge will be brought against someone if the circumstances don’t satisfy the first or second-degree assault. These charges may be imposed f you assault a police officer, firefighter, judicial officer, transit officer, school bus driver, public transportation driver, nurse, or health care provider.

This is a Class C felony carrying up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. First-time offenders may receive 1 – 3 months in prison. You will also lose the right to possess a firearm in Washington.

Second Degree Assault Charge Penalties

A person may be charged with second-degree assault if they recklessly inflict substantial bodily harm upon another. This may also include strangulation, suffocation, and the use of a deadly weapon. It is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines.

This might become a Class A felony charge if it was sexually motivated. If you’re a first-time offender of assault in the 2nd degree, the law in Washington State requires a minimum of three months in custody. It is also considered a violent crime, meaning it would count as a strike each time it is committed by the same person (three strikes rule).

First Degree Assault Charge Penalties

This charge is brought against someone who had the intention of causing great bodily harm, uses a deadly weapon or uses methods likely to cause death or significant physical harm.

It is considered to be a Class A felony with a potential sentence of 93 – 123 months in prison for a first-time offender and life imprisonment for a repeat offender. It also carries fines of up to $50,000. Assault in the first degree in Seattle is commonly described as aggravated assault.

Many people feel like their assault charges have been exaggerated. If you think this is your case, it is critical to talk to an assault and battery lawyer in Seattle immediately. An experienced legal aid may fight to reduce or drop the charges to avoid a lengthy prison sentence or a criminal record.

What’s The Penalty for Vehicular Assault in Seattle, WA?

Another common type of assault prosecuted in Seattle is vehicular assault. This crime is charged when a person substantially injures another while driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving.

It is a serious crime in Washington with steep penalties. It is a Class B felony carrying up to 10 years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines. It may also come with a DUI conviction, leading to probation or alcohol treatment. A vehicular assault charge will lead to revoking your driver’s license until the court decides otherwise.

Reckless Driving Vehicular Assault

A less serious type of vehicular assault is reckless driving. Here, the driver must not have been impaired while driving but did drive the vehicle with disregard for the safety of others when the collision happened. The penalty is 1 – 3 months in jail with no criminal record.

Perhaps the worst punishment for all convictions is the inclusion of a conviction in a criminal record. This will often appear in most background checks and may affect your chances to get employment, housing, school admission, or even during loan applications. Students accused of these charges lose their scholarships or financial aid eligibility. Because of the severity of a conviction, it’s extremely critical to find a skilled assault and battery lawyer in Seattle to fight for your freedom and protect your rights.

How Can I Defend Myself Against Assault Charges in Seattle, WA?

Some of the defenses a Seattle criminal defense attorney will likely implement include:

Self Defense

If used reasonably, it could work in your favor. But you’ll need a seasoned Seattle assault attorney who can carefully explain your side of the story without making self-incriminating statements.

Mutual Combat

Seattle does not disallow mutual combat if it doesn’t endanger bystanders or other people’s property. It is a valid defense strategy if the defendant did not choke or substantially injure the other fighter, and the fight was consensual.

An Aggressive Legal Counsel Giving Your Case the Best Outcomes

Assault charges in Seattle are pretty serious with life-changing consequences. We understand that the moments following an arrest for assault in Washington can be scary and confusing. Nonetheless, you need to remain calm and cooperate with the authorities without speaking to anyone until your defense attorney arrives.

Don’t allow the penalties of an assault charge to cripple your life. There’s often a lot of confusion at the beginning of an assault case which may result in the violation of your rights and serious charges being filed against you. You, therefore, need a strong legal representation to avoid the repercussions of these charges. Talk to a Seattle assault defense attorney today to safeguard your best interests.