Arrested for Self Defense in Washington State

May 22, 2020

For someone who was just defending themselves, getting arrested can come as quite a shock. Maybe you’ve never been arrested, and you are confused about what comes next and what to do.

At Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., we know what comes next and we can guide you through the criminal justice process and stand next to you in court and work to restore your rights. In Washington, you have a right to defend yourself and others, and we will make sure that your rights under the law are protected.

Washington Defense of Property Laws

Self-defense is a well-established, long-held right that goes to the core of our freedoms in this country. If you can’t defend yourself against an attack, what are you expected to do?

However, the law does put certain conditions on your right to defend yourself, and you have to stay within those boundaries if you use force against someone to defend yourself. Just because you’ve been arrested and charged, doesn’t mean you are guilty. Laws sometimes sound simple, but when real-life facts get applied, it can be complex, and sometimes even police get it wrong.

Self-Defense Law (RCW 9A.16.020)

Washington law allows you to use physical force to defend yourself if you are about to be injured by another person or you reasonably believe you are to be injured. The amount of force in these circumstances depends on the threat to you and what you reasonably believe under the circumstances.

Use of Deadly Force (RCW 9A.16.040)

If the person dies when you are defending yourself, the law allows you to use deadly force when “someone has a design to commit great personal injury to yourself or others in your immediate presence.”

This is for times when the other person has a weapon or you believe that you are in danger of death or a great personal injury. Then if you end up killing them, the law will call it justified if you reasonably believed that your life or great harm to you was imminent.

Stand Your Ground

We’ve all heard the phrase “stand your ground” when referring to a self-defense case. This came to the forefront in the Trayvon Martin homicide case in Florida in 2012. It referred to Florida’s stand your ground law, which simply means that you don’t have a duty to retreat—as you do in some states—if there is a reasonable and safe retreat option available before you commit deadly force.

Washington’s laws don’t mention “stand your ground” but they also don’t require someone to retreat before they use deadly force.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you’ve been arrested for self-defense or the defense of someone else, you need to talk to our own Dean Chuang, a successful and well-respected criminal defense attorney. Dean knows how to build a tough and resilient defense plan supported by the facts and the law. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome for your case whether it’s a reduction of charges or acquittal.

You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case review where we will listen to your side of the story. Then we’ll discuss options based on the facts and the law. Remember that if you’re accused of a crime, invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and insist on having an attorney present during any interrogation.

We’re experienced, effective, and respected by both judges and prosecutors and you contact us right away to speak with a Spokane criminal defense attorney from our offices.

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