8 October, 2021

Criminal Assault: Types and Levels of Assault


What is criminal assault and how do assault charges affect an individual’s life?

Criminal assault charges are extremely serious offenses. Being convicted of criminal assault is something that follows individuals long after they’ve served out their sentence. Depending on the type of assault, the charges will either be considered a misdemeanor or a felony — both convictions that bear serious consequences including months or years in prison.

Continue reading to learn more about assault criminal law or get in touch with Leyba Defense to speak with a criminal defense attorney about your situation.


assault charges


What is Criminal Assault?


What is assault?

Assault is defined differently depending on the jurisdiction that the incident occurs in, but is generally defined as the action of intentionally placing another person in harm’s way through physical contact (though physical injury is not required for an incident to qualify as assault).


Types Of Criminal Assault


The crime of assault can take on several different forms, all of which have grave legal and societal repercussions. The type of assault as well as the extent of suffering on the part of the victim often directly impacts the punishment of the action.

The following sections contain information about the types of assault crime in Washington State.

Assault & Battery

This is a two-part offense involving assault (defined above) and battery (using force on another person which causes bodily injury or is perceived as offensive contact).

Domestic Violence

As defined by Washington State Legislature, domestic violence is when physical harm, sexual assault, bodily injury, or the fear of imminent physical harm is inflicted on one person by their partner, a family member, or another person in the victim’s household.

Rape & Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is defined by Seattle.gov as “any kind of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the consent of the recipient.” Any type of coercion, manipulation, or forced sexual contact is considered sexual assault in Washington State.

In Washington State, rape, a form of extreme sexual assault, falls under one of three different categories (first, second, and third degree).


Levels Of Criminal Assault


Criminal assault charges have various levels, each with their own set of legal consequences. Despite the fact that some types of assault are punished more heavily than others, it’s important to remember that all types of assault bear weighty penalties — both legally, relationally, and societally.

The levels of criminal assault are:

  • Petty Assault (also called assault in the fourth degree) is a gross misdemeanor and is constituted by touching, hitting, intentionally trying to place another person in danger, or an attempt to injure.
  • Third Degree Assault is when the negligence of an individual leads to the severe bodily injury or death of another person (often involving a deadly weapon).
  • Second Degree Assault includes intent to commit a felony, inflicting substantial physical harm on another through negligence, and assault with a deadly weapon.
  • First Degree Assault is when an individual inflicts substantial bodily harm, exposes another person to poison or toxic substances, or assaults with a deadly weapon.

Professional Criminal Defense Lawyer Near You


If you have additional questions about what is assault in law or you need to speak with a defense attorney, get in touch with Leyba Defense today.

Our defense law firm has been working hard to assist those facing criminal charges in receiving the best defense and representation possible. We’d be happy to schedule an initial consultation with you (free of charge) to help you see if we’d be the right fit for your legal needs.