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Serving Skagit,
Island, Whatcom and
Snohomish Counties

Defenses to Assault

In many situations, people come to our law firm who did not start the fight or other conduct that lead to the charge of Assault. Sometimes, the police will charge a person with Assault if the alleged victim is more injured than the other party. Other times, the police will cite someone simply because they are the husband or boyfriend in a situation. Occasionally, a person will be charged because he, or she, appeared to cause harm to another even if there is a reason for such action. In each case, the possibility that a person has a defense to the crime of Assault needs to be vigorously investigated if applicable.

Self Defense

The use of force upon or toward the person of another is lawful when used by a person who reasonably believes that he or she is about to be injured. The person using the force may employ such force and means as a reasonably prudent person would use under the same conditions. This is judged by the the circumstances known to the person invoking self-defense known at the time the force is used. Once a person shows he used force, the burden is on the prosecution to show that the force used is not lawful. Essentially, a person is allowed to protect themselves by using reasonable force; a person is not allowed to shoot someone who slaps them. If the judge or jury find the force used was lawful, then they must be found not guilty.

Defense of Others

A person is allowed to use force to defend another person from harm. Again, the use of force must be reasonable to the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

Defense of Property

A person may use necessary force against damage to property in which a person lawfully possesses.