You commit a crime in Washington if you assault a firefighter while the person is performing his or her official duties. The crime is most often charged as a felony and a conviction can lead to five years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing ay type of assault charge.

What is Assault of a Firefighter Under Washington Law?

RCW 9A.36.031(1)(e) is the Washington statute that sets forth the law on assaulting a firefighter. Per this statute, you are guilty of an assault crime if you:

  1. Assault a firefighter or other employee of a fire department, county fire marshal’s office, county prevention bureau, or fire protection district, and
  2. Do so while that person is on-call or performing his or her official duties.

Please note that Washington law defines “assault” as an intentional infliction of unwanted physical harm. You generally commit an assault if you intentionally perform some act that causes “the victim” to fear actual harm.

Assault does not mean that you must actually hit or contact someone. You are guilty of the offense if you:

  1. Commit some threatening act, and
  2. It causes the “victim” to reasonably fear some type of harm.

What are the Penalties?

Assault on a firefighter is a Class C felony under Washington law. A conviction is punishable by:

  • Custody in state prison for up to five years, and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000.

These penalties can grow more severe if other facts are present at the time of your crime. Some facts that can lead to more severe penalties include if you:

  1. Committed assault with a deadly weapon, or
  2. Caused “the victim” to suffer great bodily harm.

In these cases, a prosecutor may charge your offense as either a Class A felony or a Class B felony.

A Class A felony is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison, and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

A Class B felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge an assault on a firefighter charge with a legal defense. A common defense is for you to show that you did not technically assault “the victim.” Remember that Washington law sets forth a specific definition for what an “assault” is. You are not guilty of a crime if your acts did not fall within the meaning of this term.

Your criminal defense attorney can also argue that you did not purposefully try to assault a firefighter. Maybe you made a firefighter fear some type of harm because you did something on accident. If so, a judge would likely drop or dismiss your charges.

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 criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on a wide variety of assault charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!

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