Washington’s criminal laws say you are guilty of intimidating a public servant if you threaten a public servant with the attempt to influence that person’s official action. The crime is a felony offense that can result in a prison term of up to 10 years. Please contact a Seattle area criminal defense attorney now if you are facing criminal charges in Washington State.

What is Washington’s Law on Intimidating a Public Servant?

RCW 9A.76.180 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of intimidating a public servant. Per this law, you commit a crime if you:

  1. Threaten a public servant, and
  2. Do so in an attempt to influence the servant’s vote, opinion, decision, or other official action.

For purposes of this statute, you “threaten” someone if you communicate, directly or indirectly, an intent to use force against that person.

Further, a “public servant” means any person other than a witness who presently occupies the position of or has been elected, appointed, or designated to become any officer or employee of government. Examples include a:

  • Legislator,
  • Judge,
  • Judicial officer, and
  • Any person participating as an advisor, consultant, or otherwise in performing a governmental function.

What Are the Penalties?

Intimidating a public servant is a class B felony under Washington law. The crime is punishable by:

  • Custody in state prison for up to 10 years, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge a charge under RCW 9A.76.180 with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of intimidating a public servant if you threaten a public servant. Further, “threaten” has a precise legal definition for this offense. A common defense, then, is to show that you did not actually threaten a public official.

Also note that “public servant” has a precise definition under this law. This means that you can always contest a charge by showing that the person you intimidated was not a public servant. But keep in mind that, depending on the facts of your case, any intimidation could give rise to other criminal charges.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge an intimidating a public servant 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 various types of felony charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes 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!