A domestic violence assault is considered to be any assault that occurs between family or household members, or between people who have, or have had, a dating relationship. An assault in Washington State is defined as any intentional touching of another person that is harmful or offensive. A touching is considered offensive if it would offend a reasonable person. Even if there is no actual touching, an assault can occur if the alleged aggressor intends to cause apprehension in the other person, and such action actually does create a reasonable apprehension and imminent fear of bodily injury.
In Washington State, there are 4 levels of assault, any of which can be given the “DV” moniker if the alleged incident involves: (1) family and/or household members, or (2) people who have been, or actually are in, a dating relationship. The 4 degrees of assault are as follows:
Assault 1st Degree: is a Class A Felony (the most serious violent crime) and is punishable by up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine. A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm:
(a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or
(b) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, the human immunodeficiency virus as defined in chapter 70.24 RCW, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
(c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
Assault 2nd Degree: is a Class B Felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. A person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree:
(a) Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or
(b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or
(c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or
(d) With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
(e) With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or
(f) Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or
(g) Assaults another by strangulation
Assault 3rd Degree: is a C felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. A person is guilty of assault in the third degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first or second degree:
(a) With intent to prevent or resist the execution of any lawful process or mandate of any court officer or the lawful apprehension or detention of himself or another person, assaults another; or
(b) Assaults a person employed as a transit operator or driver, the immediate supervisor of a transit operator or driver, a mechanic, or a security officer, by a public or private transit company or a contracted transit service provider, while that person is performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
(c) Assaults a school bus driver, the immediate supervisor of a driver, a mechanic, or a security officer, employed by a school district transportation service or a private company under contract for transportation services with a school district, while the person is performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
(d) With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm; or
(e) Assaults a firefighter or other employee of a fire department, county fire marshal’s office, county fire prevention bureau, or fire protection district who was performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
(f) With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; or
(g) Assaults a law enforcement officer or other employee of a law enforcement agency who was performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or
(h) Assaults a peace officer with a projectile stun gun; or
(i) Assaults a nurse, physician, or health care provider who was performing his or her nursing or health care duties at the time of the assault. For purposes of this subsection: “Nurse” means a person licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW; “physician” means a person licensed under chapter 18.57 or 18.71 RCW; and “health care provider” means a person certified under chapter 18.71 or 18.73 RCW who performs emergency medical services or a person regulated under Title 18 RCW and employed by, or contracting with, a hospital licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW
Assault 4th Degree: is a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree if, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first, second, or third degree, or custodial assault, he or she assaults another.
Domestic violence allegations are extremely serious in Washington State. Anyone charged with domestic violence in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle domestic violence defense lawyer. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for domestic violence in Western Washington. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances.