HB 2248

             As Reported By House Committee On:



Title:  An act relating to assault.


Brief Description:  Escalating penalties for gang assaults.


Sponsors:  Representatives Chappell, Brumsickle, Campbell, Kessler, Orr, Karahalios, Kremen, Schoesler, Cothern, Ogden, Springer, Van Luven, Johanson, Sheldon, Brough, Carlson, Long, Basich, L. Johnson, Backlund, Quall and Rayburn.


Brief History:

  Reported by House Committee on:

Corrections, February 3, 1994, DPS.




Majority Report:  The substitute bill be substituted therefor and the substitute bill do pass.  Signed by 8 members:  Representatives Morris, Chair; Mastin, Vice Chair; Long, Ranking Minority Member; Edmondson, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; G. Cole; L. Johnson; Moak and Padden.


Staff:  Kristen Lichtenberg (786-7156).


Background:  Under present law, a person commits fourth degree assault when he or she assaults another under circumstances not amounting to a higher degree of assault.  Fourth degree assault therefore excludes circumstances involving weapons, assaults on peace officers, or assaults inflicting substantial bodily harm.  Typically, fourth degree assault involves a "simple" assault, i.e., a fist fight without weapons.  The law provides no additional penalty for those who act together to commit a fourth degree assault against a single victim.


Fourth degree assault is a gross misdemeanor, and therefore is not ranked on the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) seriousness scale.  It is punishable by up to one year in jail.  Third degree assault is a class C felony.  The SRA ranks it as a level III offense, which means that a first-time offender would receive a sentence of between one and three months in jail.


Summary of Substitute Bill:  A person commits third degree assault when, under circumstances not amounting to first or second degree assault, he or she acts in concert with another person in assaulting a single victim and inflicts bodily harm. 


Substitute Bill Compared to Original Bill:  The substitute adds a bodily harm requirement.


Fiscal Note:  Requested January 17, 1994.


Effective Date of Substitute Bill:  Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.


Testimony For:  Two or more individuals who "gang up" on a single victim should be charged with more than fourth degree assault.


Testimony Against:  None.


Witnesses:  Representative Dave Chappell, Prime Sponsor (pro).