Criminal Defense: Assault

There are 4 degrees of Assault in Washington State that range from a class A felony to a gross misdemeanor. Assaults in the 1st and 2nd degree are considered potential “strike offenses.”

Assault 1 occurs when a person acts with intent to inflict great bodily harm and uses a firearm, deadly weapon or force which is likely to induce great bodily harm or death. This is a class A felony.

Assault 2 happens when a person recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm upon another. Assaulting another with a deadly weapon is also an element of this crime. Additionally, if a person assaults another while committing a felony offense, this also constitutes Assault 2. This is a class B felony.

Assault 3 usually is the charge imposed on a person if he/she assaults a transit operator, security officer, school bus driver, firefighter, or law enforcement officer. This is a class C felony.

Assault 4 is when the act to inflict bodily harm does not amount to assault in the first, second, or third degree. This is considered a gross misdemeanor.

Assault charges of any kind are considered to be a very serious criminal offense. They are regarded as a violent offense, carrying with it all the implications of the most serious kind of offender. Having an assault on your record is not easy to explain, and often times will amount to a ‘most serious offense’ according to Washington state law, making the offense a ‘strike’. Following the pattern of many other states, Washington has adopted a ‘Three Strikes and You’re Out’ law known as ‘The Persistent Offender Act’. According to the ‘POA’, being convicted of three of these ‘most serious offenses’ could result in life in prison. Even a second degree criminal assault can count as a strike. Any allegation of a criminal assault should be taken very seriously.