How to Get Assault Charges Dismissed in Seattle
How to Get Assault Charges Dismissed in Seattle
Getting assault charges dismissed in Seattle can seem impossible — but it’s not! With the right defense strategy, you can fight the charges and potentially get them dropped. This article will walk you through some of the main ways to get assault charges dismissed so you can move on with your life.
Show it was Self-Defense
One of the best ways to get assault charges dismissed is to show you acted in self-defense. If you can prove to the prosecutor that you only used the amount of force necessary to protect yourself from harm, they may agree to drop the charges. Some things that can help:
- Pictures of injuries you sustained
- Witness statements backing up your story
- Evidence you tried to retreat or diffuse the situation before defending yourself
Washington law allows you to use reasonable force if you’re preventing injury and protecting yourself or others. Work with your lawyer to gather evidence and statements to show the prosecutor it was clearly self-defense — that can be the difference in getting the charges dismissed vs. going to trial.
Cast Doubt on the Accuser’s Story
Many assault cases boil down to your word against the accuser’s word. If you can show their version of events doesn’t add up, you may be able to get the charges dropped. Some strategies that can work:
- Look for inconsistencies in their statements to police vs. what they’re now claiming.
- Present witnesses and evidence that contradict their story.
- Reveal a motive for them to falsely accuse you (like a bad breakup).
- Undermine their credibility by bringing up past false accusations or lies under oath.
If your lawyer can pick apart the accuser’s story and reveal major holes or question marks, the prosecutor will often dismiss the charges rather than go to trial with a flimsy case.
Convince the Prosecutor They Can’t Win at Trial
Prosecutors dismiss cases all the time because they realize they won’t be able to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. So the key is showing the prosecutor all the weaknesses in their case and all the evidence in your favor. This may convince them the smart move is dropping the charges. Some effective strategies:
- Present exonerating evidence the prosecutor hasn’t seen yet.
- Highlight every inconsistency, contradiction, and gap in their version of events.
- Argue they don’t have enough credible witnesses or evidence to meet their burden of proof.
- File motions to have key evidence thrown out before trial.
If you demonstrate all the problems with their case, most prosecutors won’t want to waste time and resources on a trial they’ll probably lose. That gives you tremendous leverage to negotiate a dismissal.
Negotiate a Plea Deal
You may be able to get the charges dismissed by negotiating a plea deal where you plead guilty to a less serious charge. This avoids the risk and stress of trial. Some options to discuss with the prosecutor:
- Plead to disorderly conduct instead of assault.
- Plead to a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
- Plead guilty in exchange for entering a deferred prosecution or diversion program.
If you can plead to a lesser offense and avoid jail time, getting the assault charges dismissed through a plea bargain may be your best option. Just be sure to avoid any plea that requires registering as a sex offender.
Complete a Domestic Violence Program
For domestic violence cases, completing a state-approved treatment program can sometimes convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges. These programs focus on topics like:
- Anger management
- Healthy relationships
- Communication skills
- Substance abuse
Completing an intensive domestic violence program shows the court you’re committed to making changes. It also saves the court resources by avoiding a trial. If your lawyer can persuade the prosecutor, this can be a powerful way to get domestic violence assault charges dismissed.
Explore Specialty Courts Like Mental Health Court
Specialty courts like mental health court and veterans court can lead to charges being dismissed after completing a customized program. These courts focus on treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment. Your lawyer will assess your situation to see if you’re eligible. Benefits include:
- Getting assault charges dismissed completely after finishing the program.
- Avoiding a permanent criminal record.
- Receiving mental health or addiction treatment.
- Having support and guidance from the court team.
Specialty courts provide a structured, compassionate environment. If you qualify, this can be an excellent path to dismissal.
How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help
The bottom line is – an experienced Seattle assault lawyer is your best asset in getting charges dropped. A skilled attorney will:
- Thoroughly investigate your case and build the strongest defense.
- Find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and attack their ability to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Negotiate aggressively with the prosecutor to get charges dismissed or reduced.
- Advocate passionately in court for dismissal.
- Navigate specialty courts and alternative programs.
- Develop relationships with judges and prosecutors to facilitate dismissals.
Don’t go it alone and risk conviction. An assault lawyer intimately familiar with Seattle courts will craft the optimal strategy for getting your charges dismissed so you can move forward with your life.