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The charge of assault in Washington state is categorized into four degrees ranging in seriousness level.  I have handled assault cases that ranged from assaults with deadly weapons causing serious injuries to accusations of throwing water on another person. 

At its least serious level, an assault is defined as a non-consensual offensive touching.  These minor assault charges are filed as gross misdemeanors in district or municipal court and can result in penalties of jail up to 364 days and a $5,000.00 fine. 

More serious assaults range from class C felonies to class A serious violent offenses.  Assaults can rise to the level of a felony when the victim belongs to a particular profession (for example a police officer, bus driver, firefighter, medical worker) or when it occurs in a courthouse – no matter how minor the assault is alleged to be.   

You may have an affirmative defense to an assault based on the lawful use of force to defense yourself, others or property.  This is often called a “self-defense” claim.  This defense applies when you reasonably believed that you or another person was about to be injured or to prevent damage or interference with property and the force you used was reasonable under the circumstances.  In some circumstances, if you prevail at trial on a self defense claim the court can order the prosecution to pay your attorney fees in defending your case.

Related crimes include

  • Assaults on children
  • Custodial assault
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Reckless endangerment

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