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When can one act in self-defense in Washington?

What if you or someone you loved were being attacked? You may need to take defensive measures, even if it means harming the attacker, in order to save your life or the life of a loved one. Such situations can be traumatizing, but what a person in such a situation should not have to fear is that they will face criminal charges as a result.

That is why the state of Washington carves out a legal exemption from violent crimes. If a person must defend himself, a family member or his property, he can do so through reasonable means. In addition, a person is allowed to help another person who has been placed in immediate harm of being assaulted, robbed, kidnapped, raped, killed or harmed of any other type of violent crime. In these situations, a person will not be put in a position of legal jeopardy.

Moreover, if a person is found not guilty due to acting in self-defense, he or she will be reimbursed by the state for the costs associated with his or her defense. In order to make such an award, the judge must find that by a preponderance of the evidence the person's acted in self-defense.

Making an argument of self-defense is not something a person in Washington being accused of a crime may want to handle alone. It takes a solid understanding of the law, and the ability to make a persuasive argument in one's favor. Therefore, many people in such situations choose to engage the services of a criminal defense attorney. With the right legal help, it may be possible to succeed on a claim of self-defense.

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