MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ASSAULT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Lakewood, Tacoma, WA Assault Charges

On May 9th, 2018, a Lakewood man was charged with second degree assault for allegedly causing his 3 month old girl to have brain hemorrhages and several broken bones.

When you read that news headline, I’m sure many of you wondered what a second degree assault actually means and thought that there is only one universal assault charge. This is a misconception. There are actually many categories of assaults that range in their penalties.

There are 4 main types of assault charges:

1. Assault 1 is Class A Felony.

A person is guilty of assault 1 when with intent to inflict great bodily harm he or she: (a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or (b) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, HIV virus, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or (c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
*For more information on what is classified as assault 1 search RCW 9A.36.011.

2. Assault 2 is typically a Class B Felony.

A person is guilty of assault 2 when he or she: Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or (b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or (c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or (d) With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or (e) With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or (f) Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or (g) Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation.
*For more information on what is classified as Assault 2 search RCW 9a.36.021.

3. Assault 3 is a Class C Felony.

A person is guilty of Assault 3 in many of the following circumstances: assaulting a bus driver, transit operator, nurse, law enforcement officer, assaulting someone in a courtroom, etc.
*For more information on what is classified as Assault 3 search RCW 9a.36.031

4. Assault 4 is a Gross Misdemeanor

To convict the defendant of the crime of assault in the fourth degree, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) That on or about(date), the defendant assaulted(name of person), and
(2) That this act occurred in the [State of Washington] [City of ] [County of ].

*For more information on what is classified as assault 4 search WPIC 35.50.

Domestic violence:

Often times assault charges are accompanied by domestic violence tags. The term “domestic violence” does not necessarily mean that you were “domestically violent.” The term domestic violence is attached to a charge when the charge involves: a family or household member, spouse, registered domestic partner, roommates, people in a dating relationship, and the list goes on.
*For more information on what is classified as domestic violence search WPIC 2.27.

Felony versus Gross Misdemeanor

Felonies carry prison time, meaning a year or more in jail whereas Gross Misdemeanors carry a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

So the next time that you hear the word “Assault” in the news, you’ll know that not all assaults are treated equal in the eyes of the law.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault in Tacoma, Lakewood, or anywhere in Western Washington, please contact Horwath Law right away.

Huge Win for DUI Defendants

Typically when a prosecutor intends to present a forensic or toxicology report, they must subpoena the person who actually did the work that produced the report.  However,  in DUI cases, prosecutors have successfully been allowed to admit the report without the supporting testimony.  DUI defense attorneys challenged this approach arguing that admitting the test without the actual testimony of the person who prepared the results violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights under the Confrontation Clause.

On June 23rd the United States Supreme Court ruled that those accused in all criminal prosecutions have the right to be confronted by adverse witnesses, including lab technicians who analyze blood samples for DUI prosecution.  Bullcoming v. New Mexico,131 S.Ct. 587 (2010).

In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed a ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court that accepted the trial testimony of a different forensic analyst who neither tested the accused’s blood sample or prepared the report of the resulting blood alcohol level. In the opinion of the Court, this procedure denied the accused the opportunity to cross-examine the actual analyst involved in the testing and certification.

Proper Passenger Etiquette on a DUI stop

Yesterday morning a 45-year-old Seattle woman gave Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies and Bainbridge Island police officers an earful early Tuesday after her boyfriend was arrested for DUI.  According to the Kitsap Sun, at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, the officers pulled over the driver of a van because they recognized him and knew his driver’s license was suspended. The stop led to the man’s arrest for DUI. Officers soon discovered that a woman was in the back of the vehicle when she “screaming at the top of her lungs” and kicking her legs in the air.  Not wearing pants or shoes and believed to be highly intoxicated, the woman “continued this screaming of vulgar insults non stop,” officers said.
The woman was seated on a curb but soon began running for the patrol car in which her boyfriend was seated. Officers took her to the ground and placed her under arrest. Deputies had to use leg restraints on the ride to jail, in which she continued her tirade using “colorful terms” and made threats. She had also urinated on at least two officers before being booked into jail on suspicion of obstructing a law enforcement officer, the documents said.

While most of us know that urinating on officers will get you no where, it does raise the question, how should one behave if they are a passenger that is getting pulled over? Officers will likely request passengers to provide identification but passengers are free to refuse to provide identification however, this can lead to additional problems. If the police officer has reasonable suspicion that there may be drugs, weapons or other contraband in the vehicle, the passenger may also be arrested and detained. Passengers who choose to provide identification willingly to an arresting officer will likely have their names run in the system for warrants or outstanding tickets.

The best thing for a passenger to do is keep quiet and at the soonest possible time ask the officer if they are free to leave.  If the passenger is unfortunate enough to have an independent  reason to be arrested they at least are afforded the same rights to challenge the basis of the stop as the driver is afforded.  So, things might turn out okay for our Ms. Urinating Seattle woman because the basis of the stops seems suspect.