8 October, 2021

Self-defense criminal law is complex and often leads to lengthy court cases as attorneys battle over whether a particular instance of force was a justified act of self-defense or an act of aggression.

Because self-defense can sometimes be mistaken for assault, it’s essential to work with a seasoned attorney if you have been involved in an altercation where you acted in self-defense.

Continue reading to learn more about self-defense criminal law or get in touch with Leyba Defense today to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney about your legal situation.

what is self defense law


Self-Defense Criminal Law: Things You Should Know


What is considered self-defense in criminal law? 

In Washington State, individuals are permitted to use reasonable force to defend themselves from an attacker or perceived attacker. However, individuals are prohibited from using excessive force (more force than is necessary in the given situation).

Justified Self Defense

Justified self-defense is the act of defending oneself or others from harm, along with defense of personal property. Using non-deadly force in Washington State is legally justifiable in the case of imminent danger, preservation of personal property, or protection of other people.

Self Defense Charges

Self-defense laws do not protect individuals that take advantage of them and use them to display unjustified aggression. If an individual claims self-defense, there must be substantial proof that the threat or perceived threat warranted the response.

If these things cannot be proved, assault charges may be brought against the individual claiming to have acted in self-defense.


What is Self Defense? 5 Laws on Self Defense in Washington


What is self-defense in criminal law? 

When it comes to the question of how does self-defense work and when is self-defense justified, there are five laws that pertain to self-defense that every Washington resident should be aware of.

1. Imminent Threat

Washington State residents are permitted to use reasonable force when there is imminent danger or perceived imminent danger to one’s physical safety.

2. Reasonable Fear

An individual acts in self-defense when they have a reasonable fear that a threat will be carried out by an aggressor.

3. Proportional Force

Proportional force is that which is considered appropriate and necessary to the level of threat. This type of force is reasonable and is only used to stop the attacker and not cause them injury unnecessarily.

4. Imperfect Self-Defense

This is a legal doctrine that is claimed when a victim uses deadly force in a situation that does not call for it. The victim may claim that the force was needed to stop the assailant or that the outcome was a mistake.

Individuals who use imperfect self-defense must work with an attorney to ensure the best legal outcome for their charges.

5. Duty to Retreat

Washington State does not have a duty to retreat statute, meaning that if an individual is attacked they are permitted to fight off the aggressor and are not legally required to flee from the threat before using other methods.


Contact a Reliable Self Defense Lawyer Today


Here at Leyba Defense, our legal firm has years of experience working with self-defense and related cases. We’d be happy to assist you in building your case by demonstrating that you acted in self-defense.

If you have recently been involved in a self-defense altercation and you need legal representation, get in touch with Leyba Defense today. Schedule a free consultation at our law firm to discuss the specifics of your case with a seasoned attorney.