Asserting Self-Defense to your Assault or Domestic Violence Charge

By Law Office of Lance R. Fryrear
If you are charged with assault in Lynnwood or elsewhere in Washington State, a possible defense you can assert is one of self-defense. Self-defense can also be asserted on Assault 1, Assault 2, and Assault 3, but these charges are less often seen as they are felony assaults.

Self defense is allowed as a defense in an Assault case by RCW 9A.16.020(3):

"The use, attempt, or offer to use force upon or toward the person of another is not unlawful in the following case: (3)Whenever used by a party about to be injured, or by another lawfully aiding him or her, in preventing or attempting to prevent an offense against his or her person, or a malicious trespass, or other malicious interference with real or personal property lawfully in his or her possession, in case the force is not more than is necessary."

Importantly, to assert self defense, the Defendant must take the stand and testify to facts that constitute an assault. Once self-defense is asserted, it is up to the prosecution to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

A little known fact about self defense in Washington State is that if a defendant is found not guilty by self defense, the defendant may be able to recover the entire cost of his or her defense. Whenever the issue of self defense is put to the jury in an Assault case, and the jury finds the defendant not guilty, RCW 9A.16.110 requires that the jury consider a special verdict form. If the jury finds that self defense applies, in most cases the state will be required to pay the defendant's attorney costs.

If you are charged with Assault 4 or Assault 4 Domestic Violence it is best to contact a Lynnwood domestic violence attorney at once.

Lynnwood criminal defense attorney Lance R. Fryrear is here to help.

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