Juvenile Assault Charges

Juvenile assault charges in Washington State are often times filed after a fight. Prosecutors can file charges, even if the alleged victim does not want to press charges. It is common for prosecutors to charge juveniles with a felony assault crime that is too serious, given the facts of the case.

Types of Juvenile Assault Charges

1st Degree Assault is normally charged when a permanent injury or deformity results from an assault. If the juvenile is 16 or 17 years old, a hearing is required to determine if the minor should be charged as an adult. Assault 1 is a Class A felony, which is the most serious type of felony.

2nd Degree Assault is typically charged when a “serious” injury results from an alleged assault. A broken bone could be considered a serious injury. If the assault involved a weapon or hands to the throat, no injury needs to have occurred. If the accused person is 17 years old, a hearing would automatically be held to determine if he or she should be tried as an adult. Assault 2 is a Class B felony.

3rd Degree Assault is normally charged if there are allegations of assaulting a police officer or causing harm to a person while they are conducting certain public service professions (bus driver, firefighter, court employee, healthcare employee, etc.). This charge can also be filed if there are accusations of criminal negligence, resulting in physical suffering for an extended period of time. If the negligence involved a weapon, the assault would not need to result in physical suffering. Assault 3 is a Class C felony, which is the least serious felony charge.

4th Degree Assault charges are typically filed if there are no “serious” injuries. Assault 4 is a gross misdemeanor, which is the most serious non-felony charge. Assault 4 with sexual motivation is technically not a sex crime. However, the court can require an evaluation with a sex offender therapist. Depending on the result of the evaluation, the court can order treatment.

Being Charged as an Adult

Prosecutors in the courts of King, Pierce, and Thurston County will often times try to transfer a felony juvenile assault charge to adult court, where the penalties are more severe. This is especially true if:

  • The alleged assault resulted in a serious injury
  • The juvenile has reached the age of 16
  • A weapon was believed to be involved in the assault
  • The juvenile has a prior criminal history

Defending Juvenile Assault Charges

Your juvenile child may have been acting in self defense or protecting another person during the assault. These are both valid defenses in Washington State. Regardless of what happened, your child deserves the best possible defense.

At Beckwith Juvenile Law, we have a proven track record for keeping cases in Juvenile Court, where the outcomes are normally much more favorable. We defend  juveniles accused of an assault offense in the courts of Puget Sound, including Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma, and Olympia, WA. Call us today for a free consultation.