Is Slapping Someone Assault?
Even if you didn’t watch last year’s Academy Awards, you likely heard about the infamous “slap.” During the awards show, actor Will Smith walked onstage and slapped Chris Rock across the face while Rock presented the Best Documentary Feature award. The slap came after comedian Chris Rock joked about Will Smith’s wife. After the show, Will Smith apologized.
This event made many wonder if Will Smith’s “slap” was considered a criminal offense. Was it assault? Is slapping someone assault, and can you go to jail for this crime?
What is Assault in Washington?
In the state of Washington, assault is a criminal offense. There are varying degrees of assault, and some can lead to lengthy jail time.
Assault in the Fourth Degree
Simple Assault (Assault in the Fourth Degree) is the lesser criminal offense. It is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
In Washington, a court may find you guilty of the crime of simple assault if you:
- Touched or struck another person with intent in a harmful or offensive way
- Attempted to injure someone else, or
- Intentionally placed another person in fear of injury by some physical activity.
Assault in the Third Degree
Assault in the Third Degree is a Class C felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A court may find you guilty of this crime if you:
- Tried to resist arrest and committed an assault
- Caused bodily harm to another person with a weapon or harmful instrument
- Caused physical harm with considerable pain with intent to cause suffering
Assault in the Third Degree is a typical charge when someone assaults a law enforcement officer, a nurse, or a peace officer.
Assault in the Second Degree
Assault in the Second Degree is a class B felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A court may find you guilty of this crime if you:
- Assaulted someone and inflicted serious bodily harm
- Assaulted someone with a deadly weapon, or
- Assaulted another person while you intended to commit a felony
Assault in the First Degree
Aggravated Assault (Assault in the First Degree) is the most severe assault offense. It is a felony and punishable by life in prison and fines of up to $50,000.
In Washington, a court may find you guilty of Assault in the First Degree if you:
- Used a firearm or deadly weapon to produce great bodily harm or death
- Knowingly exposed someone to poison, a human immunodeficiency virus, or a harmful substance
- Assaulted another and inflicted significant bodily harm.
The prosecution will look at the facts of your case, the type of harm you inflicted, your intent, and other circumstances to determine which charges to file against you. Having legal representation is critical during this time.
Is a Slap Considered Assault?
Based on Washington laws and the definition of assault, slapping someone would be considered assault. If you used force or threats or intended to harm someone, you can get charged with simple assault. If the person you slapped is a minor or a spouse, you may face serious child abuse or domestic violence charges.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
If you get charged with assault, you might wonder if you need a Seattle criminal defense attorney to represent you.
The answer is yes!
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, understand the charges against you, and protect your rights. Your criminal defense lawyer will also help you build a strong defense against the charges and negotiate with prosecutors to get the best possible outcome in your case. You can even avoid a conviction and jail time with the right defense attorney on your side.
If you face assault charges, don't try to go it alone. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today to discuss your case and build a strong defense.
Contact Our Seattle Assault Lawyers
If you got arrested for assault anywhere in Washington, our law firm is here to help. Our Seattle assault defense lawyers know how to fight serious criminal charges like assault and battery. We can help achieve the best possible outcome for your case and protect your future at every step.
At Lewis & Laws, PLLC, we have defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, and throughout the state of Washington. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our confidential contact form. Call us today!