When Is It Legal to Shoot Someone in Washington State

In most cases, it`s not legal to shoot someone who breaks into your vehicle unless your actions fall under Washington`s definitions of self-defense or justifiable murder. If the thief poses a threat to your life or someone else`s, the use of a firearm may make sense. So it`s no wonder there are more primary gun owners in America than ever before. So what if your property is at risk? What happens when an angry mob decides to chase your window or, worse, break into the store and take everything into sight? What happens when the same angry crowd starts crushing the Sh% alive and out of your car while you look from the sidewalk? Can you use lethal force? In Washington State, the short answer is NO. So what`s in the books when it comes to self-defense in Washington State? For starters, there is RCW 9A.16.020, the “Lawful Use of Force” section of the revised Washington Code. Under the Code, the use of force is permitted for those who are not public servants in the following scenarios: This is because, given the details of the situation, your actions must have been appropriate to avoid criminal charges. For example, if you shoot someone who has driven down your driveway to turn around, it is almost certainly not considered reasonable (Revised Washington Code, Section 9A.16.050). However, if someone points a gun at you and threatens to shoot, it`s probably considered reasonable to shoot them. You may have more questions about self-defence and the use of force. Join us today at Washington Gun Law to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a rightful gun owner in Washington State.

Then there are specific home defense courses like Armed Home Defense 100, which cover how to keep your home safe, how to protect your family from danger, and how to deal with the consequences – legal and otherwise – of using force to protect yourself. While state law allows you to use force in certain situations, there are gray areas when it comes to Washington State`s self-defense laws. Much of the grey area boils down to the word “reasonable.” Since a person must have a well-founded fear of serious harm to a person, the real and demonstrable well-founded fear or fear of destruction of property provides no legal justification for lethal force. Simply put, you can`t shoot anyone if the only thing at risk is your property. No matter the real value of the property, no matter how sentimental the property is, lethal force cannot be used in Washington State to defend property. In general, it is not legal to shoot someone who breaks into your vehicle. However, there are certain circumstances in which it may be legal, such as if the thief has a gun and threatens to harm you. If looters enter a store and their only purpose is to loot the place and not physically hurt anyone (given that there is still significant financial damage), a shopkeeper or employee cannot start shooting at looters. They can`t fire warning shots, and they can`t even point a gun at a person. If the angry crowd turns its attention to the shopkeeper himself, the scenario can be very different. But for the purposes of this scenario, when only property is threatened, lethal force is not authorized by Washington law. Washington law allows for the use of force in certain circumstances.

RCW 9A.16.020 provides an overview of when a person can use force, which amounts to self-defense, defense of others, and defense of property. However, further analysis of the extent of the violence and its relevance in the circumstances is required. There are other RCWs and jurisprudence that address both non-lethal and lethal violence. If you live in Washington State and legally own a gun, you have the right to use your gun to defend yourself whenever necessary. However, it is important to understand the difference between the necessary and unnecessary use of force. For example, if you find an intruder in your home and you can see that they are unarmed and you try to escape from the house, you should not shoot the person in the back when they leave. Maybe you were so scared that you didn`t notice the intruder was running away and thought he was grabbing a knife in the kitchen. Unfortunately, if the police arrive to find a deceased person with a bullet in the back, you`d better hope your story meets the subjective and objective standard of self-defense. Stand Your Ground laws allow people to use violence in certain situations. So is Washington a stand-state state? Yes, Washington allows an individual to use violence to protect himself and others.

To avoid being prosecuted for the use of your firearm, a reasonable person must also believe that you were in danger when you acted. If you are prosecuted for acting in self-defense, you have legal options. Understanding Washington State`s self-defense laws is a great place to start. Make sense? As you can see, there are several reasons why violence, even deadly violence, is justified in Washington State. However, all this is pointless if you have no idea how to use your firearm in self-defense situations. Next, we`ll discuss how to gain the knowledge you need to defend yourself and use the training you`ve gained in many home defense courses when needed. When a dangerous situation arises, there is often little time to react. Whether you acted to protect yourself or someone else from a violent crime or to help someone who should be hurt, self-defense is your right. As you can see, there are several cases where self-defense applies.

By discussing the event in detail with your legal team, you can build your defense. “being put in legal danger of any kind in order to protect themselves or their family or immovable or personal property by any reasonable means or to assist another person in imminent danger …” The simple rule is that as long as you are legally in your place, you have no obligation to retreat and can use any reasonable force necessary to defend yourself. The force used must be proportionate or in some other proportion. Washington`s Self-Defense Act explicitly states that force can be used legally if: Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National College for DUI Defense and is President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in the state to pass the National College Board Certification Exam. Although Washington`s law does not impose an obligation to withdraw, it is important to note that the person invoking self-defense cannot use more force than necessary. For example, if you are arguing with your neighbour and he pulls apples from the tree in his yard and throws them over the fence in your direction, you should not draw a gun and shoot the neighbour.

You don`t need to retreat, but turning a pipe on the neighbor is a more appropriate “amount of force” in response to apple throwing. Better yet, go inside and call the police to have your neighbor charged with assault and a contact ban issued. This resolves all other non-neighboring interactions. Car theft is a major problem in Washington State. The loss of a vehicle can lead to significant hardship and stress for car owners. In these situations, you may want to take all necessary steps to protect your vehicle from theft, but the use of a firearm can lead to serious legal problems. One of the main reasons you see such different judgments when it comes to defendants in self-defence is that although self-defence is provided for by law and jurisprudence, it is actually quite subjective. In most cases, you will rarely find 12 jurors who immediately agree that an accused acted in self-defense. While the state bears the burden of proof for the elements of the alleged crime, the defense attorney also has a significant burden of establishing self-defense. And even if defence counsel lightens that burden in such a way that the onus falls on the prosecution to prove the absence of self-defence, that does not mean that a jury will agree that the accused has actually borne the burden.