Assault & Battery Defense

Defending Against Charges of Assault and Battery

There are several defenses to assault and battery charges.  The most common defense involves self-defense or defense of others.  Where a person reasonably believes that he is about to be attacked or harmed, the person can use a reasonable amount of force in order to defend himself.  The amount of force must be reasonable under the circumstances, meaning that it cannot be totally disproportionate to the threatened harm.

If you have been charged with any type of assault or battery, contact an assault and battery defense attorney in Tacoma, Timothy L. Healy.

In other cases, the character of the victim and relationship with the defendant may be an issue.  Sometimes people bring false claims of assault or battery in order to obtain retribution or otherwise cause harm to the defendant.  In other cases, the defendant may lack the requisite intent to have committed an assault or battery, or had the intent only to commit a lesser form of assault than that which is charged.

As an assault and battery defense attorney, I have successfully represented defendants in assault and battery charges of various degrees.  I understand how these charges can turn your life upside-down in an instant.  I have appeared in courts throughout western Washington, and I know how to persuasively present your side of the story to a local jury.  If you or a family member has been charged with assault, call the Law Office of Timothy L. Healy today at (253) 201-0406 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Assault and Battery - Two Different Crimes

While they are often referred to together and frequently arise from the same physical act, assault and battery are two different crimes.  Assault is sometimes described as an “attempted battery,” while battery is often described as a “completed assault.”  Battery is the intentional use of force against another, and requires actual contact with the victim.  Assault, on the other hand, requires specific intent to harm but does not require any actual touching or harm to the victim.  There does not even need to be any actual harm the other person for an assault to take place – the defendant need only intend to take an action that is likely to injure another.  

Because of the overlapping definitions of these crimes, where a battery occurs, an assault is also present.  As a result, in Washington there is no separate crime of battery.  Instead, all conduct that can be classified as an assault or as a battery falls within the various types of assault defined by law.  Assaults are classified by degree, depending on the severity of the assault.  There are also other specific assaults defined by statute, such as sexual assault and assault on a child.

In Washington, there are four degrees of assault.  First-degree assault involves assault with a firearm or other deadly weapon with the intent to do serious bodily harm, or assault resulting in great bodily harm.  Second-degree assault encompasses other assaults with a deadly weapon, assault while attempting to commit a felony, and certain other specifically defined types of assault.  Third-degree assault includes a number of other categories, including assault on various types of public employees and other workers, and assault without intent to commit serious bodily harm, but where criminal negligence is present.  Fourth degree assault is a gross misdemeanor, and includes any assault not serious enough to qualify for one of the other degrees.  First through third degree assault are all felonies, and are very serious charges.