Assault is an attempted battery and it occurs when someone causes a victim to fear an imminent battery. In Washington State, assault is divided up into four different degrees, depending on the severity of the criminal act.

How is Assault in the First Degree Defined in Washington State?

First degree assault is defined as an attempted battery with a deadly weapon, such as a firearm, in a way that will likely cause great bodily harm or death. The assault must be done with the intent to cause harm to the victim. 

What is Considered to be a Deadly Weapon in an Assault Case?

The definition of a deadly weapon includes any instrument designed to kill or seriously injure a person. A weapon may be considered deadly due to their basic design, like a gun, knife, and some martial arts weapons. A deadly weapon can also be an instrument used for everyday tasks, such as a hammer, wrench, pipe, some articles of clothing, or even a stick. 

What is Serious Bodily Injury?

Serious bodily harm, also called serious bodily injury, is an injury that interferes with and impacts an individual’s comfort or health. Some types of serious bodily injuries include:

  • Loss of limb(s)
  • Paralysis
  • Serious disfigurement
  • Injures to the spine, neck, or head 

What is the Punishment for First Degree Assault?

First degree assault is charged as a class A felony. A convicted defendant can face up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

Will I Get Life in Prison for Assault?

Ultimately, the severity of the punishment depends on the seriousness of the felony. A class A felony means the defendant will face the most severe level of punishment for a crime. It is possible to face a less severe punishment, but it will depend on the surrounding and any mitigating circumstances of the case.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me with My Charge?

Yes. It’s important to hire a washington criminal lawyer to fight your assault charge.