Assault Lawyer Bellingham

Criminal Defense In Whatcom County

Why Choose Us To Represent You Against Assault Charges

Assault Lawyer Bellingham

Wisdom Law is proud to serve the residents of Bellingham and the surrounding Whatcom County area.

We have extensive experience in criminal defense cases, particularly DUI, assault and traffic ticket cases. We have defended nearly 900 clients in a variety of criminal cases including 450 felony cases. We have successfully litigated 33 trials.

Wisdom Law is dedicated to providing our clients with effective legal representation that is tailored to your needs. Our attorneys are committed to providing high-quality legal representation to defend your rights and freedom.

If you are facing assault charges, contact our Bellingham assault lawyers today.

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When Should I Hire An Assault & Battery Lawyer?

Contact our Bellingham assault attorney ASAP after criminal charges have been filed against you.

It is important to hire an assault & battery lawyer as soon as you are aware of the assault charges. You’ll want to find an attorney who specializes in assault and battery law, such as we do, or one that has a lot of experience with these cases.

Assault lawyers build defenses against assault charges and need to gather evidence as soon as possible. If you delay hiring an assault lawyer, you risk losing valuable evidence that can help your defense and give up control of your case leaving you at the mercy of the prosecution. Not a good strategy for your protecting your rights and freedom.

How Bellingham Assault Lawyers
Fight Your Charges

Assault and Battery In Washington State

Can Assault Charges Be Dropped?

In the state of Washington, assault is defined as an attempt to cause physical injury to another person or threatening words or actions that put someone in fear of imminent physical injury. The victim does not have to be physically harmed, but merely put in fear of harm.

Assault is a serious crime that can carry significant penalties if convicted, including jail time and fines. Assault is classified based on the severity of the injury or threat. If a person is physically harmed during the commission of any other crime, such as burglary or robbery, that harm is also considered assault.

Because assault is a criminal charge, the victim cannot make the decision to drop the charge after legal steps have been taken.

Washington State Assault Types

assault attorney bellingham

What is Simple Assault in Washington State?

Simple Assault is a misdemeanor criminal offense that can be charged as either a gross misdemeanor or class C felony. The charge of simple assault arises when the victim suffers bodily harm but not serious injury. An experienced attorney can help you avoid the most serious penalties for a conviction by negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce your charge to an infraction or other misdemeanor offense.

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What is Aggravated Assault in Washington State?

Aggravated assault is assault that results in serious bodily injury. Assault with a deadly weapon is an aggravated assault that involves the use of a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife. Simple assault is any other kind of assault, including an assault that involves a deadly weapon without causing serious injury. Assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor, however, when the victim suffers serious bodily harm or there is a deadly weapon involved, the charge becomes a felony. If you are charged with aggravated assault, you face serious consequences if convicted.

Assault Penalties in Washington State

Washington State has four levels or degrees of severity that decide how an assault case is handled. The most serious charge is the 1st. The only charge of assault that is not a felony is 4th Degree Assault. Bellingham prosecutors will charge defendants with more severe assault. You may be forced to accept a unfavorable plea deal or conviction if you don’t have a skilled assault lawyer on your side.

  • 1st Degree Assault (Assault 1)
    This charge is usually filed when there are allegations of “great bodily injury,” which could be permanent or serious injury to another person. It does not have to involve a weapon. First degree assault is a Class A felony in Washington State. It can lead to imprisonment of 20 years to life. Gun rights will be lost if you are convicted of Assault 1.
  • 2nd Degree Assault (Assault 2)
    If you are accused of causing “substantial bodily injury”, assault 2 charges will be filed. An injury that requires medical treatment or a broken bone can be considered substantial bodily harm. Even a few stitches or a broken tooth could be considered Assault 2. It does not have to be an injury, or even a mark on the skin that there are allegations of choking or using deadly weapons.In Washington State, Second Degree Assault can lead to a 10 year sentence and fines of up to $20,000. A sentence of 3 to 9 months is typical for a first conviction that does not include a weapon enhancement. Gun rights will be lost if you are convicted of Assault 2.
  • 3rd Degree Assault (Assault 3)
    In Washington State, third degree assault is a Class C felony and can lead to a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The standard sentence for a first-time offenders will be between 1 to 3 months if there is no enhanced penalty for the use of a deadly weapon. You may be eligible for community service or electronic home monitoring instead of prison time. Gun rights will be lost if you are convicted of Assault 3.
  • 4th Degree Assault (Assault 4)
    Assault in 4th Degree may be filed if the Assault 1 and 2 standards are not met. To be charged with Assault 4, there is no need for injury. Assault 4 can be wrongly accused because there is rarely any physical evidence. Fourth Degree Assault in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor. Jail time can range from 0 to 364 day with possible fines up to $5000. If the victim is in a domestic relationship, a conviction for Assault 4 can result in gun rights being lost.

Did You Know?

  • A misdemeanor assault is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fines.
  • If you are convicted of assault, the court will impose a sentence that may include probation or community service as well as fines and restitution.
  • A criminal record can harm your chances of getting a job or an apartment and may even disqualify you for certain types of jobs.

Defenses to Washington State Assault Charges

What are criminal defenses to an assault and battery charges?

If you have been charged with assault and battery, it is important to understand what defenses may be available to you.

Defenses to assault and battery charges include self-defense, defense of others, consent and necessity.

Assault and battery charges are considered crimes against another person, but the two types of offenses have different elements that must be proven in order to obtain a conviction.

A person can be charged with assault for threatening or attempting to harm another person. To prove that a defendant is guilty of assault, the prosecutor must show that he intended to cause physical injury and that he took a direct action toward causing the injury.

There are several defenses that may be available in an assault case depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. For example, if you did not actually intend to harm the alleged victim, you may be able to argue that there was no assault. If the assault was unintentional and caused by negligence or recklessness rather than intent, you may be able to argue that the charges should be reduced to a lesser offense such as reckless endangerment or criminal negligence.

Self-Defense
If you are acting in self-defense, Washington state law permits you to use reasonable force to protect:

  • Yourself
  • Another person (including strangers).
  • Your personal property
  • Real estate that is yours

 

To be considered self-defense, you don’t need to be physically attacked. You would have to have a reasonable fear of being maliciously attacked.

Accidental Contact
The prosecutor must prove that you intended to cause injury in order to convict you of assault. If the officer believes that the contact was deliberate, a person could be charged with 4th Degree Assault for bumping into someone. Your assault attorney may be able to help you if the contact was accidental, and the person wasn’t in danger.

Mutual Combat
If there aren’t any serious injuries and both combatants agree that the fight was consensual, mutual combat can be a good defense against an assault charge. Fighting by agreement in Washington State is considered disorderly conduct, although it is less serious than assault it still is a misdemeanor. Your attorney may still be able to use a mutual fight defense to negotiate dropped charges or a slower dismissal of a lesser charge.

The circumstances of your case will determine the defenses that may be available. It is important to work with an assault attorney who is familiar with the Washington state assault charges.

For a conviction, prosecutors must provide evidence. In most cases of assault, the victim is the only witness. This could lead to a “he said, she said” situation. Even though this case has less evidence, Bellingham prosecutors will continue to pursue charges in the hope of a conviction. Wisdom Law conducts an independent investigation of every case in order to find evidence that will help build a defense strategy for your case.

What time limits apply in criminal assault cases?

In criminal assault cases, the statute of limitations is governed by RCW 9A.04.

The general rule in Washington law is that a criminal case must be brought within three years of the date the crime was committed.

The statute of limitations can be tolled, or suspended, in certain situations. For example, if you were a minor at the time of your assault, then you have three years from turning 18 to file a case against your assailant.

Words of Wisdom
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Don't jeopardize your freedom, reputation & future prospects!

  • Hire your assault defense lawyer ASAP after charges are filed against you.
  • Avoid talking with the police about what happened. You may want to state your version of what happened but the police may use the information against you. Calmly and politely tell the police that you do not want to discuss what happened and that you want to speak to an attorney.
  • Likewise, do not talk with others about what happened.  They could become witnesses against you at trial.
  • DO NOT post about the assault on social media or write emails to friends/family about what happened.  Seriously, remain silent in person & online.
  • Record your memory of what happened with as much detail as possible. This record will help you recall what happened & will greatly benefit you & your lawyer to build your defense. 

Aggressive, Strategic Assault & Battery Attorneys

Being convicted of simple or aggravated assault can result in steep fines, time served, and ramifications that ripple throughout your personal and professional life.

As Bellingham assault defense lawyers, Wisdom Law helps people defend themselves in a variety of situations that often result in self defense or assault. Due to the nature of assault cases, we have developed a strong network of experts that can help with everything from ballistics to blood spatter analysis.

As experienced assault defense lawyers, we have helped countless defendants with their assault cases. If you are facing charges for criminal assault, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Wisdom Law offers compassionate legal counsel in a confidential setting. Contact us today.