What to Know About Proving Assault in WashingtonLeave a Comment
When a person is charged with assault in Washington state, the prosecutor will need to prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, the state presents evidence that is circumstantial at best and insufficient for proving that the defendant committed the crime.
If you are facing assault charges in Washington state, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side who can protect your rights and point out inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. Here is what you need to know about proving assault charges in Washington state.
What Is Assault under Washington Law?
Washington law defines assault as any unwanted physical contact or threat of contact that the victim considers offensive. These cases can be charged under four different degrees depending on the type of physical contact, the severity of the harm suffered by the victim, and whether a weapon was involved in the commission of the crime.
Different types of assault charges result in different penalties:
- Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor Assault: Fourth-degree assault is the only crime that is charged as a gross misdemeanor. This crime involves any unwanted touching and may result in up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
- Third-Degree Felony Assault: Third-degree assault is a Class C felony and involves contact with a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or another public servant. This crime can result in up to five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
- Second-Degree Felony Assault: Second-degree assault is a Class B felony and involves bodily harm inflicted with force or a deadly weapon. This crime can result in up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
- First-Degree Felony Assault: First-degree or aggravated assault is a Class A felony and involves inflicting great bodily harm with force or a deadly weapon This crime can result in a life sentence in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
How Does a Prosecutor Prove Assault in Washington?
To prove assault in Washington state, the prosecution must meet the burden of proof for the specific charge. This means that the prosecutor must show that the defendant committed the crime in question and that the crime occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. The state will also need to show that there was a deliberate action or an intention to use force against the victim.
There are numerous ways that the state could prove assault. For example, surveillance footage of the incident could show that the defendant hit the victim. A statement from a witness who saw the assault could establish the events leading up to the incident and therefore prove intent. However, these incidents are rarely straightforward, and the prosecution often presents evidence that is circumstantial at best.
Facing Assault Charges in Washington? Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney
An assault conviction can have a major impact on your life. If you are facing assault charges in Washington state, you need a criminal defense lawyer who can help prove your innocence and counter the prosecution’s argument.
A Tacoma assault lawyer knows what is needed to prove assault in Washington, and he or she will also know when a prosecutor is failing to establish his or her case. Your lawyer will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome in your case and prove reasonable doubt. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to discuss your next steps.