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Washington assault charges come in varying degrees

Getting into a physical altercation or otherwise heated fight with another person can be a stressful situation. You likely did not start your evening with the intention of winding up in such a predicament, and when the situation began to escalate, you may have felt fearful and likely did not know what would happen next.

At some point during the altercation, someone called the police. As a result, officers arrived on the scene, and though they may not have had all the information, they took you into custody on suspicion of assault. You may have wanted to immediately start defending yourself, but it is likely that the officers were not hearing it.

What now?

Being under arrest is stressful in itself, and now that you face charges, you have a long road ahead of you when it comes to handling the allegations effectively. In efforts to know what you are getting into, you may need to gain more information on assault charges in Washington, such as:

  • Fourth-degree assault: This is the least serious of the assault charges, but if convicted, you could still face up to 90 days in jail.
  • Third-degree assault: With this charge, authorities believe that you caused bodily harm with criminal negligence, or the victim was a police officer, firefighter, health care provider, bus driver or court employee. A conviction could result in one to 43 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • Second-degree assault: This charge may apply if the situation involved the intent to cause substantial bodily harm, intentionally causing harm to an unborn child by injuring the mother, tortuous bodily harm or other factors.
  • First-degree assault: This charge is the most serious of the assault charges and may apply if there was an intent to cause great bodily harm with a deadly weapon or with deadly force, exposure to poison or a destructive substance, or if great bodily harm resulted.

Knowing the exact charge you face can play an important part in the way you choose to approach your criminal defense. You likely have many defense strategies available to you, and you may want to go over your available options with an experienced attorney. Having legal support can help you better understand your case and what you can do to work toward the best outcome possible.

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