Practice Area:  Criminal

Description:   A domestic dispute between husband and wife reportedly escalated. During a physical altercation between the couple, the husband’s alleged actions led to charges of Assault 4, Theft 3, and Interference with Domestic Violence Reporting. After thorough investigation, victim interview, and negotiation with the prosecutor, we obtained a resolution for our client (the husband) which will result in dismissal of all charges after 6 months of law abiding behavior.

Outcome:  Stipulated order of continuance – Will result in dismissal of all charges

Message:  In the heat of relationship distress, be mindful of your behavior and of the potential life changing consequences. A simple dispute at home can quickly result in criminal charges. When tempers flare, remember to take a time out. Remove yourself from the situation before it escalates out of control.

Domestic Violence Assault in the 4th degree is the most common DV (domestic violence) charge in Washington State. It actually doesn’t take much to be arrested on a “DV Assault 4” charge in this state. “Assault” is broadly defined by case law as “any unwanted touching”, and the law states the contact must be considered offensive by a reasonable person. DVAssault 4 charges may be filed when there are allegations of a minor injury or even no injury at all. If police are called to the scene and there is any indicator that unwanted touching has occurred, an arrest will take place. State law in fact requires the police to arrest the primary aggressor if they have probable cause to believe there was an assault within the last four hours.

If you are convicted of a DV Assault 4 charge you may face serious consequences. As a gross misdemeanor, an Assault 4 conviction can result in jail time of up to 364 days and a $5,000 fine. A DV specification on an Assault 4 charge is likely to come with enhanced penalties. In addition to fines and jail time, a DV Assault 4 conviction may lead to a loss of your right to possess firearms. The court may also order a DV treatment program and a no-contact order, potentially keeping you away from your loved ones and even from your own home. See our prior blog posting for more information about assault charges in Washington State, including categories and penalties.

Be aware of your own behavior, recognize that the bar is low for Assault 4 arrests and charges, and understand the magnitude of the potential repercussions.  If you find yourself in a situation where things have escalated and you are facing potential charges, be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney directly after your arrest. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.