Assault with a deadly weapon is a severe form of assault under Washington criminal law. You commit the crime if you assault another person with a firearm or other dangerous object. The offense is a serious felony that can result in years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing an assault charge.
What is the WA Law on Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
RCW 9A.36.011 is the Washington statute that sets forth the law on assault with a deadly weapon. Per this code section, you commit a crime if you:
- Assault another person, and
- Do so using a firearm or any other dangerous or deadly object.
Note that the crime of assault is where you:
- Threaten to harm or use force against another person, and
- You have the ability to inflict such harm or force.
The crime does not require you actually harm or make physical contact with the alleged victim. A threat to inflict harm is enough to trigger an assault charge.
Further, for purposes of this statute, a “deadly weapon” includes obvious weapons that can take a human life. Examples include guns and knives.
But, depending on the facts of a case, a deadly weapon can also include a:
- Vehicle, and
- Attack dog.
Consider, for example, the scenario where you are in an argument in a bar. The other person pushes you and you respond by throwing a bottle of hard liquor at his head. The “victim” ducks and the bottle crashes against a wall.
Here, you technically could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. It’s quite possible that a thrown bottle could kill a person if it hit his/her head. Further, the act of throwing the bottle amounts to a threat of harm. Note that you could be charged with a crime in the above scenario even though the “victim” ducked as was never injured.
What are the Penalties?
Assault with a deadly weapon is a form of assault in the first degree under Washington law. This is the most serious form of assault in the state, and it can be charged as a Class A felony.
A Class A felony is punishable by:
- Years in state prison, and/or
- A maximum fine of $50,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. Defendants accused of this form of assault have the right to challenge the accusation with a legal defense. A common defense is to show that you did not use a “deadly weapon” during an assault. You can also assert that while you threatened someone, you did not have the ability to carry out that threat. For example, maybe you allegedly threatened a police officer, but did so while handcuffed in the back of a police car. Since there was no true way for you to carry out the threat, you should have a valid defense to an assault charge.
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 assault attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience defending clients on assault and battery charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these types of 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!