The anger, fear and frustration of having to deal with criminal charges when you were only acting in self-defense can be extremely overwhelming. Being accused of a crime when your use of force was called for and lawful can feel dehumanizing and unjustified. Fortunately, Washington has excellent Stand Your Ground laws and allows for self-defense as a valid defense against certain charges.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, especially a serious crime such as homicide or other violent crime, you will need to retain a defense attorney as soon as possible. For assistance in Washington, consider Daryl Graves Law, PLLC as your choice firm.
Use of Force Laws
In Washington, you are allowed to use force against someone in certain circumstances, including in self-defense. The laws, detailed in RCW 9A.16.020, say you can use force in the following situations.
- When someone is getting ready to injure you – or when you believe they are
- To prevent a malicious trespass or “other malicious interference with real or personal property”
- To detain someone who wrongfully came on your property
- To protect a mentally handicapped person from hurting others
Self-Defense & Stand Your Ground Laws
The crux of Washington’s self-defense legislation is found in RCW 9A.16.110(1). The statutes read: “No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.”
Washington’s Stand Your Ground laws provide solid protection against harm and liability for law-abiding citizens. If you are being attacked or think you’re about to be attacked, you have the legal authority to protect yourself. Also, while some states require that you retreat if you think you’re about to be harmed, Washington doesn’t mandate retreat. If someone maliciously approaches you or your home, you do not have to try to escape first. You can stand your ground and defend yourself, your family and your home. If you injure or kill the attacker and are arrested, you can use self-defense as your defense.
To be entitled to use self-defense as justification for your actions, the force you used must not have been more than necessary. The force must be reasonable. Also, you must not have been committing a crime when you were attacked, and the incident must have occurred on premises where you were legally entitled to be.
Successful Self-Defense Cases
When you are charged with a crime, it’s the State of Washington that’s prosecuting you, e.g., You vs. State of Washington. As such, if you and your attorney present a solid case, and the court finds you not guilty because you acted in self-defense, your case will be dismissed and the state will reimburse you for all reasonable costs, including your loss of time, legal fees and other expenses involved in your defense, as provided by RCW 9A.16.110(2).
Speaking to a Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington
Self-defense is a viable affirmative defense against numerous charges including assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and murder. Our firm handles all types of criminal cases, including even the most serious. We are fully versed in all aspects of the Washington criminal justice system and know how to craft a sound case based upon self-defense.
Contact one of our representatives at Daryl Graves Law, PLLC at 253-235-0060 and schedule a one-on-one consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.