Assault cases come in many shapes and sizes, from a simple misdemeanor push-and-shove to a serious felony shooting or stabbing. Threats to harm are also often prosecuted as assault. Many assault charges involve allegations of Domestic Violence, involving family members, spouses, or other persons in a relationship or living together. Felony assault cases can result in lengthy prison terms, with mandatory penalty enhancements of up to five additional years in prison or more (with no “good time”) if a firearm or other deadly weapon is involved. The stakes can be very high for clients in these cases and the evidence can often be as complicated as some murder cases.
In many cases, a person accused of assault may have a defense that the force used was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances (self-defense). A successful self-defense claim results in a verdict of “not guilty” and may result, in limited circumstances, in a jury award reimbursing a defendant for attorney fees and other costs incurred in defending the case. This is the only time in Washington where an innocent criminal defendant can recover the costs incurred in his or her defense.