Under Washington’s criminal laws, second-degree assault of a child is when someone 18 years of age or older commits the crime of second-degree assault on a child under the age of thirteen. The offense is a severe felony in Washington that can result in a ten-year prison sentence. If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge of any kind, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

What is Assault of a Child in the Second Degree?

Per RCW 9A.36.130, a person 18 years of age or older is guilty of second-degree assault of a child if the victim is under the age of 13, and either of the following is true:

  1. The defendant commits the crime of assault in the second degree against the child victim, or
  2. The defendant intentionally assaults the child and causes bodily harm that is greater than transient physical pain or minor temporary marks, and the person has previously engaged in a pattern or practice either of (A) assaulting the child which has resulted in bodily harm that is greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks, or (ii) causing the child physical pain or agony that is equivalent to that produced by torture.

Note that, per RCW 9A.36.021, a person is guilty of “assault in the second degree” if he/she:

  • Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm,
  • Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child,
  • Assaults another with a deadly weapon,
  • With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance,
  • With intent to commit a felony, assaults another,
  • Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture, or
  • Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation.

What are the Penalties?

Assault of a child in the second degree is a Class B felony under Washington law (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by:

  • A maximum prison sentence of 10 years, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Defendants accused of this form of assault can challenge the accusation with a legal defense. For example, “second-degree assault,” as set forth above, carries a precise technical definition. A defense, then, is for an accused to use the facts of the case to show that he/she did not commit assault of the second degree. Note, however, that a prosecutor could still try to convict the defendant with another form of assault.

Further, an accused can try and prove that the police violated one of his/her constitutional rights. Maybe, for instance, the police:

  • Arrested the accused without probable cause,
  • Failed to read the party his/her Miranda rights, or
  • Coerced a confession.

In these instances, a judge may decide to reduce or dismiss a charge because of the violation.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge an assault charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced assault attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience defending clients on assault and battery charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment to make all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!