Washington law says that it is crime if you assault a nurse, doctor, or healthcare provider. The offense is a serious felony that can land you up to five years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you were charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense.

What is Assault on a Healthcare Provider Under Washington Law?

RCW 9A.36.031 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of assaulting a healthcare provider. Per this law, you commit a crime if you:

  1. Assault a nurse, physician, or healthcare provider, and
  2. Do so while that person was performing his or her nursing or healthcare duties at the time of the assault.

Please note that an “assault” is 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 use some type of weapon or actual contact to cause fear of harm. The mere proof of a threatening act that would cause a person to believe harm was present can be enough for an assault charge.

What are the Penalties?

Assault on a healthcare provider 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 assault. 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 healthcare provider charge with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of assault if you intentionally try to harm a person. Therefore, a defense is to show that you did not act intentionally or with the specific aim to harm a nurse or doctor. Maybe, for example, you made some threatening gesture or movement on accident.

Your criminal defense lawyer 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!

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