First-degree assault of a child is the crime where a person commits the offense of assault in the first degree on a child under the age of thirteen. The crime is a serious felony under Washington law that can lead to life in prison. If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now for help.

What is Assault of a Child in the First Degree?

RCW 9A.36.120 is the Washington statute that defines the crime of first-degree assault of a child. Per this law, people commit an offense when they, with an intent to inflict great bodily harm, either:

  • Assault the child with a firearm or other deadly weapon or by any means likely to produce great bodily harm or death,
  • Expose the child to poison, HIV, or any other harmful substance, or
  • Assault the child and inflict great bodily harm.

People are also guilty of this offense if they:

  • Intentionally assault a child and either:
  • Recklessly inflict great bodily harm on the child or
  • Cause substantial bodily harm, and the person has previously engaged in a pattern or practice either of (A) assaulting the child which has resulted in bodily harm that is greater than transient physical pain or minor temporary marks, or (B) causing the child physical pain or agony that is equivalent to that produced by torture.

For purposes of this statute, a “child” is someone under the age of thirteen.

What are the penalties?

Assault of a child in the first degree is a Class A felony under Washington law (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by:

  • A maximum prison sentence of life in prison, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $50,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. People charged with this crime can fortunately challenge it with a legal defense. For example, a defendant can show that his/her acts did not rise to “assault in the first degree.” Granted, the accused could still get charged with a lesser form of assault, but the defense could help the defendant avoid a life prison term.

In addition, a defendant can try and prove that the police violated one of his/her constitutional rights during the arrest. Maybe, for instance, the police arrested the accused without probable cause or failed to read the party his/her Miranda rights. In these instances, a judge may decide to reduce or dismiss a charge because of the violation.

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 to make 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!