Assault Laws in Washington: Categories and Penalties

a woman defending herself from an assaultIn Washington, assault is categorized into four types, and each comes with its own penalties. Many different actions could qualify as assault so much so that some individuals are surprised to realize that they could face charges even if they did not actually land a hand on another person.

1st-degree assault

A Kent-based lawyer specializing in criminal defense says this is the most severe assault charge and is a Class A felony, which could land you 93 up to 123 months in prison and up to $50,000 in fines even if you have no prior charges. A charge could be classified as 1st-degree if you assaulted another individual using a deadly weapon that could have resulted in death or bodily harm, with the intention of causing the individual such harm.

2nd-degree assault

This is a Class B felony that could land you a couple of years in prison (if you have priors) or three to 12 months and a fine as much as $20,000. You could be charged with 2nd-degree assault if you’re accused of torturing, strangling or poisoning another individual, with the intention of causing harm and agony or assaulting a person in an attempt to commit a felony, among others.

3rd-degree assault

This assault charge is a Class C felony with fines up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 43 months or one to three months if you do not have any priors. You could be facing this charge if you committed an assault on a law enforcement officer, doctor, nurse, firefighter, school bus driver, or public transportation operator.

4th-degree assault

A 4th-degree charge is any assault the law considers as not serious to be categorized as a 3rd, 2nd or 1st-degree assault. It is considered a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by probation or jail time of 90 days.

Any kind of assault charge, regardless of the specific classification, carries with it a significant stigma, and will not matter if your assault charge was violent or non-violent. That said, make sure to have an experienced defense attorney on your side if ever you face any kind of assault charge.