Raising a Defense against Charges of Assault in Washington State
States treat assault and battery differently. Some states consider these as two different offenses. Other states like Nevada treat battery as a continuation of the initial assault. Still, others lump these two as a single criminal offense. In Washington, threatening another person is not assault. According to feldmanlee.com, the state does consider simple assault or assault in the fourth degree as a misdemeanor.
Simple assault is a crime where a person touches, hits or attempts to injure another. It can also be committed when, through the actions of another, a person fears injury from bodily harm. The person was threatened with bodily harm, and this was later acted upon.
The following are actions considered simple assault: touching or offensively striking another person or attempting to injure another person. This means that trying to hit another person, actually hitting that person, or lunging at that person constitutes assault. However, threatening another person with harm is not considered assault.
Defense against Assault
When charged with assault, the defendant can raise the following as an alibi: self-defense, consent, and accidental contact. Self-defense happens when the other party initiates contact or forces the situation. The person has the right to protect himself against harm. Mutual consent is given voluntarily. However, the force used is applicable only to the extent of the consent. If the act is beyond what is expected, consent as a defense is no longer applicable. Accidental contact applies to instances when the action was not intentional, or it was not intended to result in any physical harm.
Assault is a criminal offense. The penalty depends on the severity of the harm done. To defend this in court requires a lawyer with experience in local laws.