Washington self-defense laws can be "murky"

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 1:31 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Washington prosecutors and detectives have many factors to consider when dealing with a self-defense case.

Major Crimes Lieutenant Mark Griffith says legitimate self defense cases are rare, but they do happen. It is the Lieutenant's job to investigate but it is up to the prosecutor to make an official determination if killing a person was justifiable or not.

The Prosecutor's Office says anytime a weapon is directly pointed in your face or someone elses, and there is a reasonable threat someone will get hurt, it's self defense to eliminate that threat and protect potential victims.

Prosecutors also take into account the force the victim uses is comparable to the threat against them. For example, if someone is about to hit you and you use a gun against them, that would not be okay. If the weapon were a knife and a gun is used for protection, that is acceptable.

However, when someone is on your property  it is not acceptable to use force. If that person comes inside your home, everything changes.

If a suspect comes into your home and they are armed you are legally allowed to defend yourself however possible, that includes killing the suspect.

Another time the Prosecuting Attorney will consider justifiable homicide is when an officer issued a command to a suspect that is armed and they don't comply.

 

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