Assault Lawyers in Tacoma Providing Clients with a Strong Criminal Defense
Being charged with a crime of any kind can be a startling, life-shattering event. So, understandably, facing false allegations for a crime as heinous as physical or sexual assault can be especially upsetting.
If you’ve been charged with assault, it is vitally important that you respect the situation you are in and speak with an attorney without delay. Your lawyer may be able to provide you with an aggressive defense that helps you avoid long-term prison time and harsh financial penalties – and may even manage to see certain charges dropped or dismissed entirely.
At the Tacoma, WA-based offices of South Sound Law Group, our legal team is experienced in handling cases of this nature and helping clients pursue the most satisfactory outcome. We will work to obtain evidence that supports your claims and, if necessary, help negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor for probation or reduced sentencing.
There are no guarantees when facing accusations like this. Both the defendant and their supposed victim are in for a sensitive, highly volatile legal fight, and it pays to have a strong lawyer in your corner for such a life-altering series of events. To speak with an attorney at South Sound Law Group, please call our office to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Are the Assault Laws in Washington State?
Every assault charge is serious, but state courts do categorize them differently, with unique penalties depending on the severity.
First-degree assault is an instance of an individual attempting to cause great bodily harm or death to another person with the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon. Intentionally exposing or otherwise infecting a person with poison, toxins, and other destructive substances also qualify. In some cases, if the violence goes far enough, there is no need to involve a deadly weapon for an attack to be considered assault in the first degree.
A first-degree assault charge is a Class A felony and comes with it the potential for over seven years in prison and fines up to $50,000. Repeat offenders may face lifetime incarceration.
Second-degree assault is similar to assault in the first degree but does not go quite as far. Instances of second-degree assault include intentionally harming another person, intentionally causing harm to unborn children by assaulting a pregnant person, use of a deadly weapon, torture, strangulation, and assault in coordination with an attempt to break felony law.
A second-degree assault is a Class B felony that may result in a convicted person receiving up to a year behind bars and up to $20,000 in fines. Repeat offenders will likely be incarcerated for years longer.
Third-degree assault charges include instances of assaulting a police officer, a firefighter, public transportation driver, a doctor, a nurse, and basically any and all persons located in a courtroom. Third-degree charges may also extend to resisting arrest or violating no-contact orders. You may be charged with third-degree assault if you negligently, but not intentionally, caused harm to another person with the use of a weapon.
A third-degree assault charge is a Class C felony. If convicted, the defendant may risk three months in prison and fines up to $10,000. If they are a repeat criminal offender, their incarceration may last up to five years.
Fourth-degree assault is any type of assault that does not amount to the damages or severity seen in the first, second, or third-degree charges. Fourth-degree assaults need not even cause bodily injury. There must only be some form of activity that the supposed victim finds offensive or disturbing.
Unlike the other charges, which are felonies, fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor. Those convicted of fourth-degree assault may risk up to a year in jail time and/or probation.
No matter the charge, and regardless of whether you are guilty of having committed the crime, you must seek out the legal guidance of an experienced defense lawyer. The prosecutor will pursue these charges to the fullest extent of the law, and you need to be prepared to defend your case and your reputation with everything you can.
What Practice Areas Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Represent?
Not every lawyer is suited to every case. A criminal defense attorney is the most well-suited to represent those accused of felony and misdemeanor assault charges.
A lawyer at South Sound Law Group may be able to serve you against the following types of allegations in Washington state:
- Assault with a weapon or firearm.
- Attacking a public servant.
- Felony assault in the first degree, second degree, or third degree.
- Indecent liberties.
- Intentionally harming children or the elderly.
- Misdemeanor assault, such as spitting on a victim or groping them.
- Rape and other violent sex crimes.
- Sexual assault.
- Sexual harassment.
- Suffocation or strangulation.
- Threats of violence, including attempting to strike a person but missing them.
- Vehicular assault.
What Constitutes ‘Indecent Liberties’ in the State of Washington?
While rape is the forceful nature of sexual intercourse, there are other types of sexual assault which do not involve intercourse that is nonetheless against the law, including Washington state’s law against what it calls ‘indecent liberties.’ Some of the acts which fall under the definition of indecent liberties seem relatively minor by comparison, but if convicted for the crime, the defendant may face dire consequences regardless.
Violations of indecent liberties occur when one party takes sexual liberties with another person in some unwanted manner, usually by making contact either with their private, sexual body parts or by forcing the other person to come into contact with the aggressor’s body parts. Incidents of fondling, groping, grinding, and forcing the other person to grab them are typically charged as a criminal violation under this law.
Many examples of breaking the indecent liberties crime include victims who have disabilities, whether they are mental or physical in nature, rendering them easier targets for a predator.
In cases where physical force is used, defined as ‘physical compulsion’, indecent liberties may be charged as a Class A felony. If convicted of this crime, the accused could face a life sentence of incarceration. Other, comparatively less severe examples of indecent liberties are tried as a Class B felony, which could result in up to a decade behind bars.
Whether the allegations are true and the defendant committed the crimes or not, they are entitled to a defense. Contact South Sound Law Group to schedule a confidential free consultation with a defense lawyer on our staff.
What Are the Statistics on False Accusations of Rape and Assault?
We understand the importance of believing victims who are brave enough to share their stories. But there have been false reports of sex crimes and crimes of violence. Statistics estimate that somewhere between 2% and 8% of such allegations are falsified in some way.
However, there may be a reason to believe that those numbers are slightly inflated, as there is an inconsistent understanding as to what constitutes a ‘false’ report.
Despite the odds, false allegations do happen, and mistaken identity has also been responsible for innocent individuals facing incarceration.
And, just the same, there are many individuals who are guilty of exactly what they have been charged with. In these cases, the accused, like any other society member, deserves a legal defense.
Contact the Law Offices of South Sound Law Group to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
In the United States, everyone who is accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. And while that may be a comfort for those fearing conviction, the court of public opinion can be far less forgiving and may view you harshly whether you’re ever convicted or not.
If you’re facing allegations of assault in the state of Washington, you need to recognize that the potential consequences are most dire. Even if you are found not guilty, a long courtroom trial can be inconceivably damaging to your reputation and the image of any business you are involved in. You can’t only think about the financial penalties or potential prison sentences you could be facing for such a felony; you must also think about the larger picture.
At our firm, you will speak with a defense lawyer who is well experienced in the matters of felony crimes, negotiating with an overly aggressive prosecutor, and taking steps to restore the reputation of clients accused of felonies. No criminal defense lawyer can ever promise you that you will avoid conviction and get your life back just the way it was — in fact, if you speak with such a lawyer, they’re probably not worth your time — but our law offices do seek to provide our clients with dedicated, respectful legal representation. We will do everything we can to defend the rights of those arrested and brought before a judge.
Contact South Sound Law Group to discuss your case with a confidential free consultation. Our law offices are located in Tacoma, but we have served clients all across western Washington. Call us today at 253-383-3328.