You commit the crime of assault of a child in the third degree if you cause bodily harm to a child in certain situations, like cause harm by means of a weapon. The offense is a serious felony under Washington law that can result in several years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved you has been charged with an assault crime.
What is Washington’s Law on Assault of a Child in the Third Degree?
Washington law recognizes three degrees of assault on a child. These are:
- Assault of a child in the first degree,
- Assault of a child in the second degree, and
- Assault of a child in the third degree.
RCW 9A.36.140 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of assault of a child in the third degree. Under this law, you commit the crime in question if with criminal negligence you:
- Cause bodily harm to a person under the age of 13 by means of a weapon or other instrument likely to produce bodily harm, or
- Cause bodily harm to a person under the age of 13 and it results in substantial pain that causes considerable suffering.
Note that you act with “criminal negligence” if:
- You fail to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur, and
- Your failure constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.
Also note that terms like “bodily harm,” “substantial pain,” and “considerable suffering” are determined by the facts of your particular case.
What are the Penalties?
Assault of a child in the third degree is a class C felony under Washington law. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to five years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
The penalties for the other two degrees of assault of a child are more severe.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. People charged with this offense can contest the charge with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of this form of assault if you act with criminal negligence. Further, this term has a precise legal definition. A defense, then, is to show that you were not criminally negligent.
Other defenses are for you or your criminal defense attorney to show that:
- You did not cause “bodily harm” on a child, and/or
- Your acts did not cause “substantial pain” or “considerable suffering.”
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 lawyers at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on assault charges. 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!