Self Defense Attorneyself defense

Washington allows you to use reasonable physical force in defending yourself, your property or another person from imminent bodily harm. RCW 9A.16.020 governs the lawful use of force, and allows it a couple different situations:

  • Defending yourself
  • Defending others
  • Defending your property

The lawful use of physical force must be commensurate to the harm threatened. In other words, the use of force in self-defense must be no more than is necessary.

I typically see lawful use of force raised in the following cases

  • Assault (DV)
  • Malicious Mischief (DV)
  • Harassment (DV)
  • Disorderly Conduct (DV)

Self Defense

Washington law allows you to use reasonable physical force if you are attacked or you reasonably believe you are about to be attacked. “Reasonable” is the key word. Your use of force must be reasonable considering the circumstances, i.e. you may not use more force than is reasonably necessary to defend yourself. You do not have to be actually physically attacked in order to use force to defend yourself. Rather, you may defend yourself if you reasonably believe someone is about to harm you. Self-defense requires that you are in a place where you are legally allowed to be. In other words, you cannot assert self-defense if you are trespassing on someone’s property.

Defense of Others

Washington law allows you to use reasonable force in defending another person from imminent harm. Much like self-defense, the use of force is only lawful it is reasonable, i.e. no more than necessary to dispel the harm or threatened harm. Additionally, you cannot assert defense of others if you are trespassing on someone’s property.

Defense of Property

Washington law allows you to use reasonable force in defending your property from “malicious trespass, or other malicious interference with real or personal property.” This means that you can protect your home from a trespasser and defend your personal property from intentional malicious damage with the use of reasonable force. Much like self-defense, the use of force must be reasonable, i.e. no more than necessary to dispel the harm or threatened harm.

Have An Experienced Self Defense Attorney On Your Side

Tom Carley has defended thousands of criminal cases. He is well-versed in Washington law on self-defense, and knows how to apply the law to the facts of your case. Tom understands that there are two sides to every story, and that police officers can get it wrong in deciding whom to arrest. When you are facing a serious charge, it helps to have a serious defense attorney. Call us today or fill out a contact form here.