It is a crime in Washington if you commit an assault on a school bus driver. The offense is charged as a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing any type of assault charge.

What is Washington’s Law on Assault on a School Bus Driver?

RCW 9A.36.031 is the Washington statute that sets forth the main law on assault on a school bus driver. According to this statute, you commit a crime if you:

  1. Assault a school bus driver or a driver’s immediate supervisor, and
  2. Do so while the person is performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault.

Assault” is defined as the intentional infliction of unwanted physical harm. To successfully prove that you assaulted another person, a prosecutor generally must show that you intentionally performed some act that caused a victim to fear actual harm.

Note that assault does not have to include a weapon or actual physical harm. The mere proof of a threatening act that would cause a person to believe harm was present could be enough for an assault charge.

What are the Penalties?

Assault on a school bus driver is charged as 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.

Note that these penalties can grow more severe if you commit an assault and other facts are present, like if you commit assault and:

  1. Do so with a deadly weapon, or
  2. Cause 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 school bus driver with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of assault if you intentionally try to inflict harm on a person. A defense, then, is to show that you did not act intentionally or with the specific aim to harm a bus driver. Perhaps, for example, maybe you placed a bus driver in fear because of some accidental act.

Your criminal defense attorney can also try to challenge a charge by showing that the police violated your rights. For example, maybe a law enforcement officer:

  • Arrested you without probable cause,
  • Coerced a confession, or
  • Conducted an unlawful search and seizure.

If any of these are true, your defense lawyer can try to get your charge reduced or dropped altogether.

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 both misdemeanor and felony 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!

*  Main image at top by vwalakte on Freepik