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Misdemeanor Assaults and Felony Assaults

Assaults are defined by RCW 9A.36. An assault is any intentional touching done without lawful authority or consent. Touching includes all forms of contact such as striking, cutting, shooting, etc. Damage does not need result. In the right circumstances, simply placing your finger on another person could be an assault. It depends on the situation and surrounding events.

There are 4 levels of assault: assault in the fourth degree (RCW 9A.36.041), assault in the third degree (RCW 9A.36.031), assault in the second degree (RCW 9A.36.021) and assault in the first degree (RCW 9A.36.011). Fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor. Third degree is a class C felony. Second degree is a class B felony. First degree is a class A felony.

The level of assault depends on how the assault was carried out, who was assaulted and what, if any, injury/damage resulted from the assault. Fourth degree is by far the most common and is any assault not qualifying for third, second, or first degree.

Third degree assault is primarily about causing "bodily harm" or about who you assaulted. It is a third degree assault if you assault (without any injury) a transit worker, school bus driver, firefighter, law enforcement officer or healthcare worker if they are performing their duties at the time of the assault. A third degree assault can also be charged when bodily harm has been caused by criminal negligence with the use of a weapon or by criminal negligence that is accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a sufficient period to cause considerable suffering. Bodily harm mean physical pain or injury, illness, or an impairment of physical condition.

Second degree assault can be an intentional assault that recklessly inflicts "substantial bodily harm", assault with a deadly weapon, causing the ingestion of poison with the intent to inflict bodily harm, assaulting someone with the intent to commit a felony, assault by strangulation and/or knowingly inflict bodily harm by torture. Substantial bodily harm means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any body part or organ or which cause a fracture of any body part.

First degree is an assault that inflicts "great bodily harm" or is an assault with a firearm or other deadly weapon. It can also be an assault with a force or a means likely to produce great bodily harm or death. Great bodily harm means bodily injury which create a probability of death or which cause significant serious permanent disfigurement or which cause a significant permanent loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ.

The attorneys at Paudal and Associates have handled hundreds of assaults both simple and D.V. If you are facing an assault charge you need the aggressive defense that Paula and Associates can provide.