The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment allows Americans to own firearms, but each state and situation where you use the gun has different laws governing how you can use those guns.
If you use your firearm for self-defense in Washington State, two key things must be true in order to avoid criminal prosecution.
Is It Legal To Shoot Someone Who Enters Your Home In Washington State?
Even without a firearm, Washington State law allows a person to “use reasonable force to defend themselves” if someone is attacking them or they believe they are about to be harmed. “Imminent threat” would also allow you to act in self-defense, meaning you were not being attacked at that moment, but the alleged attacker was threatening to harm you in the near future. For example, if you were kidnapped and had not been harmed yet.
However, the law says you may not use more force than necessary while being attacked.
Someone may only use deadly force when they believe an alleged attacker may threaten their own life or someone else in your company’s life.
So if you believe you, or a family member, are about to be shot and killed, then you can use your legally purchased firearm to defend yourselves.
Washington State also does not inflict a “duty to retreat,” meaning you do not have to try and flee your home or the scene of your attack. Instead, you may “stand your ground” and defend yourself.
In court, to avoid prosecution for using your firearm, a reasonable person must also believe you were in danger when you acted.
What Should I Do If I Used My Firearm In Self Defense?
Contact VanWa Legal for a complimentary consultation today if you used your firearm in self-defense.
Our top criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience navigating Washington State’s complex gun laws and the rights and responsibilities of gun owners.
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible, but ideally before speaking with law enforcement, to ensure your rights as a gun owner are protected, and we can help illustrate that you acted in self-defense.
Many factors ranging from if you were in your own home if you were in legal possession of the firearm, and more, will affect if you can use self-defense as justification for using your gun. Roger Priest and VanWa Legal will help you navigate the intricacies of the law.
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