Death And Defending Your Home: Know What Your Rights Are Under Wrongful Death Laws

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Death And Defending Your Home: Know What Your Rights Are Under Wrongful Death Laws

1 April 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Crime rates in Pullyap, Washington are 150 percent higher than the national average. That puts many of the citizens in a predicament; do they defend their homes and risk their lives against their intruders, or do they take a chance that the intruders will not hurt or kill them? What are your rights under wrongful death laws here? Can you, the homeowner, be sued for killing an intruder? Here is what the law says and what a wrongful death attorney can do for you in these instances.

Washington State's Stand-Your-Ground Laws

If you encounter a home intruder, you are allowed under Washington's stand-your-ground laws to shoot and/or kill the intruder. You may also defend yourself and your property if an attacker comes at you on your property.  However, if the intruder's family feels that you were not defending yourself and your home, they can ask the state to prosecute you for murder and wrongful death. Washington's laws are similar to other states that have adopted a "Castle doctrine," (laws that say you have no obligation or duty to retreat when encountering a potentially dangerous person in your home). There are just a few slight differences in that other states allow you to shoot anyone who enters your home without your permission, regardless of what the intruder's intent might have been.

Another big difference between Washington's laws and the adopted castle doctrine in other states is that you, the homeowner, do not have to retreat to safety if you are already outside and the intruder/attacker is inside your house, nor do you have to retreat if the intruder/attacker comes looking for you outside on your property. The state's attorney has to prove beyond a doubt that you killed someone in your home not out of fear but intentionally. You only have the right to kill an intruder in your home in Washington state IF you feel threatened or think your life or the life of a family member is in imminent danger from the intruder.

Burden of Proof Does Not Fall to Your Lawyer

It typically is undisputed that a homeowner is the one who killed an intruder, and your wrongful death attorney does not have to prove your innocence so much as he or she has to disprove the claims that the state's attorney is making. As long as you did not lure the deceased into your home or attempt to cover up your actions that secured your safety and the safety of your family, the prosecution has little to go on when trying to prove that you committed an act of wrongful death. Additionally, if you were raped or attacked sexually and the intruder/attacker threatened to do the same to your children or spouse, your rape kit and police reports will support your case for killing the intruder and support your actions under Washington's laws.

For a wrongful death attorney, contact a law firm such as Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C.