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Washington Court Reverses Excessive Sentence for Assault

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2019 | Assault

In an effort to provide consistency between penalties imposed on criminal defendants throughout the state, the Washington legislature has set forth criminal sentencing guidelines. The guidelines set forth the mandatory minimum sentence and the maximum sentence that can be imposed for a crime. Some crimes, such as assault, have degrees ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony, with separate sentences for each degree of the crime. If a defendant is convicted of a crime and the penalty imposed exceeds the penalty allowed by law, it may constitute grounds for a reversal of a sentence.

This was shown in a recent assault case, in which a Washington appellate court reversed a sentence following the defendant’s conviction, due to the fact that the combined terms of confinement and community custody to which the defendant was sentenced exceeded the maximum sentence permitted. If you are a Washington resident and are charged with assault or another violent crime you should meet with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances surrounding your charges and your possible defenses.

Allegedly, the defendant was at his home when three sheriff deputies arrived to serve arrest warrants on the defendant. The deputies entered the defendant’s home and found the defendant inside of a bathroom in one of the bedrooms. The deputies advised the defendant that they had warrants for his arrest and told him to exit the bathroom. One of the deputies then grabbed the defendant’s arm and told the defendant he was under arrest. The defendant began to struggle and yell at the deputies. The defendant then began to throw punches at one of the deputies, after which the other two deputies physically restrained the defendant. The defendant broke free and ripped a towel rack off of the wall and began swinging it at the deputies.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with third-degree felony assault. The defendant was subsequently convicted and sentenced to sixty months of confinement followed by twelve months of community custody. The defendant subsequently appealed on several grounds.

Allowable Sentence for a Class C Felony

One of the defendant’s arguments on appeal was that his sentence was illegal. The court noted that third-degree assault is a Class C felony. Under Washington law, the maximum term of imprisonment for a Class C felony is sixty months. Further, the law regarding sentencing for Class C felonies provides that when a defendant is sentenced to both community custody in addition to confinement, the term or community custody should be reduced, if the duration of both the community custody and confinement exceed the maximum sentence that may be imposed. Here, the defendant was sentenced to sixty months of confinement followed by twelve months of community custody, which exceeded the maximum sentence allowed by law. Thus, the court reversed the sentenced and remanded for resentencing in accordance with the law.

Meet with an Experienced Washington Assault Defense Attorney

If you live in Washington and are charged with assault you should meet with an experienced Washington assault defense attorney to assist you in formulating a defense. At the Law Offices of Smith and White, our criminal defense attorneys have ample experience helping criminal defendants determine what course of action to take in pursuit of a successful outcome under the circumstances. You can reach us at 253-363-8662 or through the online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.