Assault and Battery

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Criminal Law, LAWS & LIFE

Simple assault in Washington is a misdemeanor that is committed by striking, touching, or willfully putting another person in fear of bodily harm. It is also referred to as assault in the fourth degree.

Serious or significant bodily injury assaults, assaults on minors under the age of 13, and assaults on specific protected personnel are all felonies.

Assault offences in Washington are classified according to degree, with fourth degree assault being the least serious. Only when the facts of the conduct do not qualify as aggravated assault can a fourth-degree assault charge be brought.

Simple Assault

A person commits the offense of simple assault in Washington by:

  • doing any act that puts another person on purpose in fear of danger,.
  • purposely making harmful or insulting physical contact with or hitting another individual, or
  • trying to harm someone when the defendant seems to have the capacity to do so.

For instance, punching someone with your hand might be seen as basic assault. Assault also includes attempting to strike someone else, as well as lunging at someone with the intent to make them fearful of being wounded. However, in Washington, just threatening another individual does not qualify as an assault.

Reckless Endangerment

Reckless endangerment is a similar offense that is recognized under Washington law. Reckless endangerment is a felony that is committed when someone engages in actions that put others in danger of dying or suffering significant physical harm.

When someone disregards the significant hazards that their actions pose to other people, they are acting recklessly. Recklessness is usually a glaring departure from what a sensible person would do under the same circumstances.

For instance, reckless endangerment could be demonstrated by irregular driving while a child is present.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes assault and careless endangerment among family and household members. Included in the definition of family and household members are spouses, ex-spouses, parents of the same child, blood or married relatives, cohabiting adults, as well as those who are or have been in a dating relationship.


Both reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault carry sentences of up to 364 days in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The court may impose further costs, order the offender to turn in any firearms, and issue a restraining order compelling the defendant to avoid the victim or refrain from contact.

Legal Counsel and Representation

Simple assault and reckless endangerment convictions can result in jail time, hefty fines, and a criminal record. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Washington if you are accused of minor assault or reckless endangerment. An attorney can help you prepare the best defense by explaining the legal process to you, advising you on how your case will likely fare in court, given the circumstances and the judge and prosecutor assigned to the case. With the aid of a lawyer, you might be able to get the charges dropped entirely, win a not-guilty judgment, or secure a sentence that is less severe than the maximum permitted by the law.

Call The Cowlitz Law Group at (360) 355-4465 or (360) 597-7585 ext. 1 or contact us here.

By: Cowlitz Group

By: Cowlitz Group

The Cowlitz Law Group PLLC was founded on the belief that a successful practice is built upon providing its clients with personal service, measurable results that meet or exceed expectations, and a high level of professional integrity. We provide high-quality, cost-effective legal services to both individual and corporate clients. We look forward to meeting you and serving your legal needs.

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