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What are possible consequences for being charged with 2nd degree assault under WA criminal code

Seattle, WA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

what could be several reasons to have a second degree assault charge thrown out. the victim provoked the situation and now the defendant is charged with 2nd degree assault and has no prior criminal history.

Attorney Answers 1


In Washington State, felony sentencing ranges are set by the legislature. There is a grid that establishes the range by factoring the seriousness of the crime and the defendant's felony criminal history. The purpose of the sentencing guidelines is to insure that like defendants are treated similarly across the State.

Assault in the Second Degree is a Class B Violent Felony in Washington State. It is a level IV offense [1 to 16 with 16 being the most serious]. It is a 'strike' offense for the purpose of the three strikes law. If convicted and you have no other felony criminal convictions, the standard range would be 3 to 9 months in jail.

By way of contrast, a defendant with nine points, the highest on the sentencing grid, is facing 63 to 84 months in prison. If a defendant has two prior qualifying strike offenses, the sentence would be life in prison without the possibility of release.

Here is the jury instruction for self defense. It provides a good summary of the law:

WPIC 17.02 Lawful Force--Defense of Self, Others, Property

It is a defense to a charge of Assault in the Second Degree that the force used was lawful as defined in this instruction.

The use of force upon or toward the person of another is lawful when used by a person who reasonably believes that [he] [she] is about to be injured and when the force is not more than is necessary.

The person using the force may employ such force and means as a reasonably prudent person would use under the same or similar conditions as they appeared to the person, taking into consideration all of the facts and circumstances known to the person at the time of and prior to the incident.

The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the force used by the defendant was not lawful. If you find that the State has not proved the absence of this defense beyond a reasonable doubt, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.

As I am sure that you already realize, this is a very serious allegation. You need to speak with an attorney who has extensive felony experience. The outcome depends on facts and the ability of the attorney to vigorously represent her interests.

I would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your case and answer any questions that you may have.


Timothy Leary
Attorney - Partner

t | 206 382 2401
c| 206 972 2401
f| 206 652 8290

1111 Third Avenue | Suite 2230
Seattle, Washington USA | 98101

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