Domestic Violence Assault is 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 actor intends to cause apprehension in the other person, and it does, in fact, create a reasonable apprehension and imminent fear of bodily injury.
There are 4 levels of assault in Washington State, all of which can be given a DV tag. They are:
Assault 1st Degree: (RCW 9A.36.011) 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: (RCW 9A.36.021) 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 (RCW 9A.36.031): 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 (RCW 9A.36.041): 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.
Assault in the 4th Degree is the lowest level of assault, and can include anything from a simple push up to an assault that stops just short of causing substantial and extended pain. This is the most common type of domestic violence charge in Washington State, where by law, police officers responding to a 911 call MUST make an arrest if they believe there is probable cause that even the slightest assault has occurred. The police simply have no discretion to turn a blind eye, or tell the parties to take a break and cool off. Many of these arrests begin with an individual calling 911 with the intent of having the police help calm a tense family situation down. What often ends up occurring is one party is arrested against the wishes of the other. Unfortunately, once the arrest is made, the prosecutor will nearly always file criminal charges against the individual, even if the “victim” is not interested in pressing charges.
What Can Aaron Kiviat Do to Help Your Case?
Seattle domestic violence attorney Aaron Kiviat is an experienced and effective advocate for individuals facing domestic violence charges in all courts in Washington State. Aaron has a strong track record of getting Assault 4 DV charges dismissed either by trial or through negotiations with prosecutors.
If you call his office, Aaron will be happy to schedule you for a free 1-hour consultation to meet in his office face to face and discuss the specific charges you are facing. Seattle domestic violence attorney Aaron Kiviat will listen patiently to the specific facts and circumstances of your legal matter and will advise you of the elements of your charges, the possible outcomes of your case, as well as the best strategy to fight your charges. Call now to schedule a free consultation: 206-658-2404