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Tacoma Assault Attorney

If you’ve been accused of assault, the potential consequences to your life and future are serious, and you will want to do everything in your power to engage a highly qualified, highly experienced Tacoma assault attorney to help you.

Having a conviction for assault on your record can limit your future options, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony assault.

There are four degrees of assault in Washington. 4th degree is a gross misdemeanor; the others—Assault 1,2 and 3—are felonies and you’ll need felony defense lawyer Mark Treyz on your side. Any of these charges can potentially send you to jail. Enhanced penalties apply if the assault is tagged as an assault on a child or domestic violence, in which case, Mark is an experienced  Tacoma domestic violence attorney.

Quick Answers:


Washington state law doesn’t define “assault” in its criminal code, so state courts rely on common law, which defines it as intentionally inflicting unwanted physical harm. What may surprise many people is that “harm” for the purpose of the definition not only doesn’t require an injury to the victim, it doesn’t even require physical contact. It does, however, require that the action caused the victim to fear actual harm.

Battery is the bodily contact of assault. It’s when an individual makes both a threat of unwanted contact and then carries out the action.

Aggravated assault is a stronger form of assault, which involves the use of a deadly weapon to cause serious bodily injury to another person.


Because the crime of assault is so serious and complex, and a conviction has so many repercussions, you should always have an experienced Tacoma assault lawyer working for you from the moment you’re questioned or charged. Never speak to the police without your lawyer present to protect your constitutional rights and your interests.

Mark Treyz has been practicing criminal law in Washington for over 30 years. He has been a prosecuting attorney and a pro tem judge, so he understands how the criminal court system operates. He puts that intimate knowledge to work in defense of each of his clients and has achieved stellar results in many cases.

The best result is to keep charges from being filed at all. Having been a prosecutor, Mark knows when and how to approach the state to determine whether charges can be dismissed early on—for example by showing that errors in police procedure occurred or that evidence of self-defense or defense of someone else is present. If the initial charge is a felony and there are no grounds for dropping it entirely, he can often have the charges reduced, sometimes to a misdemeanor offense. Mark is a dedicated misdemeanor defense attorney with over 28 years of experience.


If you have been accused of an assault charge in Tacoma, the prosecutor will have to prove intent. This requirement creates an opportunity for your Tacoma criminal defense lawyer to build a defense based upon the lack of intent. In our justice system, the burden of proof is with the state, and the prosecutor must prove each and every element of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Furthermore, there are two “affirmative defenses” that are recognized in Washington:

  • You were acting in self-defense.
  • You were defending another person.

If you used “reasonable and necessary” force to protect yourself or someone else from harm, your lawyer may be able to have the charges dropped. If you are able to show that you acted to defend yourself or another person, the court may award you your attorney fees.


Here is how the courts in Washington classify the different degrees of assault. Please note that the fourth degree of assault is the lowest and counts as a gross misdemeanor.

1st Degree Assault Charge

This is the most serious offense charge in Washington. One can receive this charge if they had intended to inflict great bodily harm while:

  • Assaulting another person with a deadly weapon, firearm, or force likely to cause great harm or death
  • Administering, transmitting, exposing, or causing another person to take poison, noxious substance, or an immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Inflicting immense bodily harm while assaulting another

This is a class A felony and is punishable by life in prison. You could also pay a fine up to $50,000.

2nd Degree Assault Charge

One could receive this charge if they:

  • Assault someone with a deadly weapon
  • Purposely harm a pregnant woman or unborn child
  • Purposely assault someone and recklessly impose bodily harm on them
  • Assault someone with the intention of committing a felony
  • Inflict harm or torture someone, knowingly
  • Strangle or suffocate someone

A 2nd degree assault charge is a class B felony and can be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

3rd Degree Assault Charge

You can receive this charge if you assault specific individuals. Here is a list of professionals who are protected by the law when they are on the job:

  • A court officer
  • A county clerk
  • A transit mechanic, security officer, operator
  • A school bus driver, mechanic, security guard, supervisor
  • A firefighter
  • A police officer
  • A nurse, doctor, healthcare provider

You can also receive this charge if you:

  • Cause bodily harm with a weapon or another instrument likely to cause harm
  • Cause bodily harm that is followed by substantial pain for an amount of time

This is a class C felony and could be punishable by up to 5 years in jail. You may also need to pay a fine of up to $5,000. A judge may also place you on probation and ask you to participate in community service.

Tacoma, WA Assault Statistics 2006 – 2016

Since 2012, assault crimes appear to be on a downward trend in Tacoma, WA, until it recently spiked up again in 2015. According to a report from, in 2006 there were 618.8 assaults per every 100,000 people in Tacoma. Ten years later, in 2016, it was reported that there were 613.6 assaults per every 100,000 people. The year with the lowest recorded assault rate in this range was 2011 with 459 per every 100,000 people.

There are many factors that go into decreasing crime in the area and any one of them, or all combined could contribute to the drastic decrease in assault-related crimes. Mark Treyz is an assault attorney with years of experience handling these often complicated cases. With the high prevalence of assault charges, it’s important to hire a skilled assault defense lawyer if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges.


Class A felonies including violent crimes can’t be expunged in the state of Washington. If your assault charge is a misdemeanor, make sure that you do not receive another misdemeanor or felony charge after the date of the crime.

Washington has a rule that applies only to misdemeanor convictions. If you want to expunge a current misdemeanor, you can not have had any previous convictions expunged.

However, if a misdemeanor was expunged first and it occurred before a felony conviction, then the felony could still be expunged. An expungement in Washington requires a judge to sign a court order. It’s best to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side, who knows the state laws and will fight in your defense.

Tacoma Assault Attorney | Don’t Risk Your Future

You might be concerned about the cost of a skilled Tacoma assault attorney, but that should never be an issue when your entire future and freedom are at stake. The initial consultation is free, and flexible payment plans are available. In those cases where it is possible, Mark will ask to have attorney fees awarded.

The moment you suspect you’re going to be charged, contact The Law Office of Mark S. Treyz in Tacoma to ensure a powerful and skilled defense.