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How do I plead to 3rd assault?

Bellingham, WA |

Arrested for 3rd assault. I was arguing with my brother when the cop showed up. I told my brother that I was going to beat him up and pointed to the cop too. The cop asked if I was talking to him and I said you too . I am this person's mom and trying to get some help for him.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

Assault 3 is a fairly serious offense. As mentioned above, it's a Class C felony exposing you to 5 years jail and $10K in fines. Usually, the charge applies when victims are police officers, transit operators (bus drivers), judicial officers (judges, lawyers, etc.), and/or nurses and doctors performing their duties.

The legal definition of "assault" is fairly broad, and can be broken into three different types. (1) Intentional touching, striking or contact with another person that is harmful or offensive regardless of whether any physical injury is done to the person. A touching, striking or contact is offensive if the touching, striking or contact would offend an ordinary person who is not unduly sensitive. (2) An assault is also an act done with an intent to inflict bodily injury upon another, intending, but failing to accomplish it, and accompanied by the apparent present ability to inflict the bodily injury. (3) Finally, an assault is also an act, with unlawful force, done with an intent to create in another apprehension and fear of bodily injury, and which in fact creates in another a reasonable apprehension and imminent fear of bodily injury even though the actor did not actually intend to inflict bodily injury.

Given what little we know about this case, the State Prosecutor would probably try and prove the third definition: intent to create in another the fear and apprehension of bodily injury. In other words, by merely threatening the officer, they say you committed assault.

You have three options: (1) negotiate the case to a reduced charge, (2) argue a pretrial motion before the judge seeking dismissal of the the case, or (3) seek trial before a jury of your peers. Negotiating the case might be your best option if you have no criminal history. They might reduce the charge to Assault Fourth Degree or Disorderly Conduct. Both are misdemeanors. You might also get away with minimal fines, jail alternatives, and possibly a dismissal after a period of law-abiding behavior.

Dismissing the case via pretrial motion is another option. A judge might be compelled to decide that, under the circumstances, the officer was not reasonably afraid that you would harm him/her. Your email describes you as a mother who is concerned about her child being arrested. Without more proof of assaultive behavior, it's difficult to decide you were trying to assault an officer under these circumstances.

Even if the judge denies the motion, these same arguments might win the day for jurors, should you decide to excercise your right to jury trial. I've received favorable verdicts from juries on similar cases (please go to my Profile, Scroll down to "Cases" and read "State v. G.N." for more background).

At any rate, it's best to consult a competent and experienced attorney on your options. A good attorney will humanize you, add context to the situation, provide access to prosecutors, and, if necessary, fight for you at trial.


You should contact a criminal defense attorney. Most, like myself, offer free consultations.
If you find you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, you will want a public defender.
You definitely want to plead not guilty and have a defense attorney help you with this case.
You do not want to make any more statements on a public forum like this one. Any statements you make here could be used against you in court if the prosecutor were to find them.



do you take pro Bono cases? if my son see's the judge on Monday how do I contact a public defender?

Carl A Munson JR

Carl A Munson JR


Feel free to contact my office tomorrow for a free consultation if you like. A public defender will be at the first appearance to assist people without a lawyer. Whatcom County basically appoints a public defender to everybody and then they are free to go and hire a private attorney if they wish later.


Assault in the 3rd Degree is a Class C felony, with a maximun penalty of five years in prison. I agree with Carl that you should get in touch with an attorney immediately. Assaults and especially Assault 3 are crimes that have many possible defenses. It is an easy crime to charge and a large number of them are either dismissed outright or are amended to lesser crimes.

The above answer should be taken as a general guideline for how to handle a similar situation. I am not your attorney and I do not have enough information to advise you in your specific case. No attorney/client relationship is offered or created by posting this answer.


I don't think merely threatening an officer is sufficient to prove an assault 3rd but you will certainly want to consult a criminal defense attorney like myself before doing anything. Remember, you can always plead not guilty and then change your plea later if you work out a deal, but it is very difficult to withdraw a guilty plea once it is made. Feel free to give me a call or check out my website.

Please note that this is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post represents only the poster's opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in the State of Washington. For more information about our law firm and services, please visit my website at I hope this post was helpful to you. Thank you.