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Articles Posted in Assault

In some criminal matters, even a defendant that admits to committing the allegedly criminal acts may be found not guilty if a valid justification for the behavior exists. For example, in many assault cases, the defendant may be able to avoid a conviction by demonstrating that the alleged unlawful acts were taken in self-defense. In a recent Washington assault case, the court discussed each party’s burden of proof with regard to self-defense. If you are accused of an assault crime, it is prudent to confer with a skilled Washington assault defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Alleged Assault

Allegedly, the defendant and her husband became involved in a verbal altercation over the fact that the defendant had a boyfriend. The defendant began looking for the deed to their house to prove that she was a co-owner but became enraged when she could not find it. She began throwing things and then started to hit and kick her husband. She ultimately charged him with a sword that was a replica from a movie and sliced his arm. The husband called 911 and had to be airlifted to a hospital due to his wounds.

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, which was deemed a crime of violence. The case proceeded to trial, and the defendant was convicted, after which she appealed, arguing in part that the State failed to produce sufficient evidence that she was not acting in self-defense. The appellate court ultimately rejected her arguments and affirmed her conviction.

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Assault crimes are often committed in the heat of the moment, in response to an emotionally charged event. Thus, if the State can produce evidence that demonstrates motive, it may be able to persuade a jury that a defendant is guilty of the offense charged. The admissibility of motive evidence was recently discussed in a Washington assault case in which the court denied the defendant’s appeal of his conviction. If you are charged with assault or another crime, it is smart to talk to a trusted Washington assault defense attorney to determine what evidence may be used against you.

The Alleged Assault

It is alleged that the defendant and his victim were engaged and lived together. The victim confronted the defendant regarding his drug use, and they became embroiled in a physical argument. The defendant choked the victim, who broke free and ran outside. The defendant then followed the victim and hit her and proceeded to drag her back into the house. A motorist passing by observed the incident and allowed the victim to call 911. The defendant then fled.

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested two days later. He was ultimately charged with second-degree assault, witness tampering, and other crimes. A trial was held before a jury, and the defendant was convicted as charged, and his offenses were deemed crimes of domestic violence. Following his sentencing hearing, he appealed.

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While a person can be convicted of more than one crime for acts that occur during a single event, state and federal law prohibits a person from being convicted for the same criminal activity more than once. Thus, if a defendant is convicted multiple times for essentially the same crime, it may constitute a violation of the rule against double jeopardy and may be grounds for reversal. This was discussed in a recent Washington case in which the defendant was convicted for both second-degree and fourth-degree assault, for a single act. If you are accused of an assault crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated Washington assault defense attorney regarding your rights.

The Alleged Assault

It is reported that the police responded to a report of a domestic violence incident between the defendant and his victim. When the police spoke to the victim, she stated that the defendant had strangled her and bit her thumb and upper lip. The victim was covered in blood as well. The defendant was charged with second-degree assault for strangling the victim and two counts of fourth-degree assault for biting her.

Allegedly, during the trial, the victim testified that the defendant held her down rather than strangling her, and while he was holding her down, he bit her thumb. She denied that he bit her lip or that she advised the police that he bit her lip. The defendant was found guilty of second-degree assault and one of the counts of fourth-degree assault. The defendant appealed, arguing the acts for which he was convicted happened in a single assault and convicting him more than once constituted double jeopardy.

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Physically attacking someone often constitutes a crime. Specifically, in Washington, it may be grounds for assault charges. While engaging in physically violent behavior is generally unlawful, a defendant that is acting in self-defense might be found not guilty. If the State can show that the defendant was the first aggressor, however, the jury may be advised that self-defense is not available as a defense. In a recent Washington assault case, the court discussed the first aggressor exception to self-defense and when it applies. If you are accused of committing assault, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Washington assault defense attorney to evaluate your possible defenses.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant had a contentious relationship with the alleged victim, due to the fact that the defendant believed the victim had stolen one of his guns. At one point, the victim fired shots at the defendant’s house, and a bullet nearly struck the defendant in the head. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the victim threatened to kill the defendant. Approximately four years later, the defendant was at a gas station when he saw the victim sitting in a car in the parking lot.

It is alleged that the defendant fired multiple shots at the car and ultimately killed the victim. The defendant was charged with numerous counts of first-degree assault as well as first-degree murder. At trial, the jury was given the first-aggressor instruction. The defendant was found guilty as charged, after which he appealed. The appellate court reversed the conviction, stating that the first aggressor charge relieved the State of proving the defendant committed the alleged acts. The State then appealed.

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As most people are aware, criminal defendants cannot be compelled to make incriminating statements and must be advised of their rights via a Miranda warning prior to any custodial interrogations. As such, any incriminating statement made by a person during a line of questioning that occurs prior to a Miranda warning may be precluded from evidence. Additionally, as discussed in a recent assault case, if a party makes an incriminating statement following such warnings, it may be inadmissible if the line of questioning as a whole constitutes a two-step interrogation. If you are charged with assault, it is wise to speak to a zealous Washington assault defense attorney to determine what arguments you may be able to set forth in your defense.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant and his victim lived in an RV together. A passerby alerted the police to an altercation outside of the RV, which prompted the police to report to the scene. When they arrived, they asked the defendant what happened, and he responded that he was trying to fix things between him and the victim. He further stated that he had not choked the victim, he was just trying to get her to talk to him. The defendant was given a Miranda warning, after which he was questioned.

Allegedly, he again denied choking or hitting the victim but stated that he placed his hands on her shoulders. The defendant was charged with assault with domestic violence allegations. Prior to trial, he filed a motion to preclude the statements he made to the police during the investigation. The court denied his motion, and he was convicted, after which he appealed.

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Although all citizens of Washington are expected to comply with the law, regardless of their maturity, the law presumes that children under a certain age lack the capacity to commit a crime. Thus, if a defendant charged with a criminal offense is under the age of twelve, the State must prove that the person understood the act he or she committed and knew that it was wrong. What constitutes evidence sufficient to overcome the presumption was discussed in a recent Washington assault case in which the court found the State failed to meet its burden of proof and reversed the defendant’s conviction. If you or your child are charged with assault, it is critical to retain a seasoned Washington assault defense attorney to assist you in fighting to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant, who was eleven years old, was confined to a juvenile detention center after she was charged with assaulting her grandmother, who was her legal guardian. While she was at the center, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder, stemming from her troubled and traumatic childhood when she lived with her parents who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction.

Allegedly, while the defendant was at the detention center, she was charged with custodial assault. Before the trial on the custodial assault charge, the court held a capacity hearing and ultimately found that the defendant possessed the ability to commit the charged offense. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court incorrectly understood the law regarding juvenile capacity and therefore applied the wrong standard.

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It is well-established under state and federal law that a person accused of a crime cannot be compelled to make incriminating statements. In some instances, though, a criminal defendant may be coerced into making a statement that can be used against them, due to a lack of awareness regarding his or her rights. In a recent Washington case in which the defendant was accused of domestic violence assault with a firearm, the court discussed when an incriminating statement should be suppressed as an involuntary admission. If you live in Washington and are accused of committing a weapons offense, it is advisable to confer with a skilled Washington gun crime defense attorney to discuss what evidence the State may be permitted to use against you.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant and another woman were both romantically involved with the victim, but unaware of the existence of one another. They both became pregnant, after which the defendant broke up with the victim. The other woman learned that the defendant was also expecting the victim’s child, and reached out to the defendant. The two women then confronted the victim, and the victim testified that the defendant shot him in the leg.

Allegedly, the defendant was arrested three weeks later and transported to jail. She was advised of her Miranda rights and right to counsel, after which she stated she wished to make a statement. She was reminded of her right against self-incrimination and right to counsel but nonetheless admitted to participating in the shooting. She was then charged with first-degree assault with a firearm. She was convicted by a jury, after which she appealed, alleging in part that the statement she made in jail was coerced.

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Often when a person is charged with assault, the evidence the State presents against the defendant is purely circumstantial. Thus, in many cases, there is insufficient evidence for the State to obtain a conviction. In some cases, the State will introduce evidence of substantial bodily harm to support the allegations a defendant committed assault. Recently, a Washington court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence of substantial bodily harm in a case in which the defendant was convicted of second-degree assault of her minor son. If you are a Washington resident currently faced with assault charges, it is critical to retain a practiced Washington assault defense attorney to assist you in mounting a strong defense.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Assault

It is reported that prior to dropping the victim off at daycare, the defendant called the daycare to report that the victim had a bruise on his face due to an accident. Upon examination of the victim, the daycare noticed the victim had substantial bruising on his face and neck. As such, the daycare called the police, who began an investigation into the defendant. The defendant was ultimately charged with assault in the second degree of a child and was convicted following a trial. She then appealed, arguing, among other things, that there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction. Upon review, the appellate court affirmed her conviction.

Evidence of Substantial Bodily Harm

Under Washington law, a person will be found guilty of assault in the second degree of a child if the person is over eighteen years old, and the victim is under thirteen years old. There are numerous ways the State can prove assault in the second degree, one of which is through showing that a defendant intentionally assaulted another person, thereby recklessly causing substantial bodily harm. In turn, substantial bodily harm is defined under Washington law as a bodily injury that involves a disfigurement that is temporary but significant, a fracture, or temporary impairment or loss of bodily function.

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In some cases in which a defendant is sentenced to imprisonment, he or she may be able to obtain a reduced sentence or compassionate release. There are strict parameters that define when a compassionate release is appropriate, and a court will not grant a defendant compassionate release unless the defendant demonstrates that one of the limited circumstances applies. Recently, a Washington court assessed whether the COVID-19 pandemic warrants sufficient grounds for a defendant serving a sentence for assault to obtain compassionate release, ultimately determining that it did not. If you live in Washington and are accused of committing assault, it is advisable to speak to a skillful Washington assault defense attorney to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was serving a prison term of twenty months for assaulting a police officer. The defendant, who was 23-years-old, suffered from a heart murmur and filed an emergency motion for compassionate release, arguing that it was warranted due to the threat that he would become infected with COVID-19 while imprisoned. After reviewing the facts and relevant law, the court denied the defendant’s motion.

Grounds for Compassionate Release

Generally, a conviction that includes a sentence of imprisonment is a final judgment that may not be modified by a district court, with limited exceptions. For example, under the compassionate release statute, a defendant may only seek a reduction in a sentence when he or she establishes that he or she has met the statutory exhaustion requirements, a compelling and extraordinary reason supports the defendant’s motion, and the reduction sought is consistent with the policy statement, which sets forth the criteria for determining if a compelling reason for a sentence reduction exists.

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It is a well-established rule of law in Washington that the State cannot introduce evidence of a defendant’s prior bad behavior to establish that the defendant committed the crime for which he or she is currently charged. While evidence of prior bad actions cannot be used to prove guilt, it is admissible for other reasons. This was discussed in a recent domestic violence case decided by a Washington appellate court, in which the defendant argued that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of verbal abuse. If you are faced with domestic violence charges, it is in your best interest to retain a skilled Tacoma domestic violence attorney to assist you in formulating a defense.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant became romantically involved with the victim, and shortly thereafter moved into her home with his five-year-old son. The victim alleged that the defendant punched her in the face multiple times, after which she advised him that she no longer felt safe and wanted to end the relationship. In response, the defendant kicked her in the head and punched her in the face, causing her face to split open. The victim was then afraid to leave her home due to an implied threat from the defendant. She was also worried that if she left, the defendant would harm his son. She eventually called 911, which resulted in the defendant’s arrest. He was ultimately charged with second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, and unlawful imprisonment. He was convicted of second-degree assault and appealed on numerous grounds, including the assertion that the trial court erred in allowing the State to admit prior bad act evidence.

Evidence of Prior Bad Acts

Under Washington law, the State is prohibited from introducing evidence of prior bad acts to demonstrate that the defendant had the propensity or character to commit crimes. Evidence of prior bad acts may be introduced for other purposes, however. For evidence of prior bad acts to be admitted for other purposes, the court must find that misconduct occurred, and assess the purpose for admitting the evidence, and whether the evidence is pertinent to an element of the current crime. The court must also find that the evidence’s probative value outweighs its prejudicial effect.

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