What Is 4th Degree Domestic Violence Assault in Washington State?
Domestic Violence Assault in the 4th degree (DV Assault 4) is the most common domestic violence charge in Washington State. It is defined by RCW 9A.36.041 and describes any unwanted touching against a family or household member as assault—persons qualify as a family or household member if they are:
- Spouses or former spouses
- Intimate partners
- Domestic partners or former domestic partners
- Persons who have a child in common, regardless of whether they were married or lived together at any time
- Persons aged sixteen or older who are currently residing together or people who have resided together in the past and have dated or are currently dating
- Family members
- Persons aged sixteen or older who are in a dating relationship or have dated in the past
This crime is a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine.
If a DV assault involved a weapon or resulted in serious bodily harm such as a broken bone and/or stitches, then it would likely be charged as Domestic Violence Assault in the 2nd Degree, which is a class B felony and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
DV Assault Penalties in Washington State
Domestic violence assault is a serious crime and can carry specific penalties in Washington State. If the police are called to an incident and believe that any unwanted touching has occurred in the last 4 hours, then they are required by state law to arrest the person they believe to be the “primary aggressor”. If charged with domestic violence assault in the 2nd degree, you could lose your ability to freely travel outside of the state.
Furthermore, the judge will likely issue a No Contact Order, which prohibits any contact between the involved parties. This can also prevent the defendant from returning home, which would require them to find alternate lodging. The order can be in place for up to 5 years. The court will also issue an order to surrender any firearms and the defendant will not be allowed to possess or own any firearms during the duration of the matter. If they have any firearms, they are obligated to surrender them to the police or they could be charged with a new crime.
Washington also has a mandatory loss of firearm rights if convicted of this crime. There are ways you can apply to restore your right to own a firearm, but it can be a difficult process that takes years.
Due to the serious, life-altering consequences of a DV Assault 4 charge, we recommend contacting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest.
Contact Us for Help in Your DV Assault 4 Case
It is not a hopeless situation if you have been charged with domestic violence assault. There are things you and your attorney can do to try to get through this situation as easily as possible. If you have been arrested or investigated for domestic violence assault, call our office or contact us online. We will listen to you, answer your questions, ease your stress, and work tirelessly to resolve your case.
Owner and principal attorney Lance Fryrear of The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear has defended the accused in Lynnwood and throughout Washington for the past 20 years. We will be sensitive and careful every step of the way, doing everything we can to help and support you.
Give us a call at (425) 224-7075 to learn more!