In the heat of a Superbowl loss and in other times of significant stress…….be mindful of your behavior and of the potential life changing consequences. Domestic Violence Assault in the 4th degree (Assault 4) is the most common DV (domestic violence) charge in Washington State. The truth is it doesn’t take much to be arrested on a DV Assault 4 charge as a Washingtonian. “Assault” is generally defined by case law as “any unwanted touching” and the law states that the contact must be considered offensive by a reasonable person. Clearly this is very broad! DV Assault 4 charges are filed when there are allegations of a minor injury, or even no injury at all. If police are called to a scene, and there is any indicator that unwanted touching has occurred, an arrest will take place. State law in fact requires 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 will face serious consequences. Assault 4 is a gross misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to 364 days of jail time, a $5,000.00 fine, and loss of your right to possess firearms. Furthermore, you may be ordered to completed expensive domestic violence treatment and you will likely be issued a no-contact order, which could keep you away from your loved ones and even from your own home.

The take home message: Be aware of your own behavior and recognize that the bar is low for Assault 4 arrests and charges. Understand the magnitude of the potential repercussions and be sure to contact an experienced 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.