Duty to Retreat - FYI - Washington State

Post date: Jul 09, 2018 2:35:16 PM

Washington State has no “duty to retreat,” as precedent was set in State v. Studd (1999) and State v. Reynaldo Redmond (2003) when the court found: "that there is no duty to retreat when a person is assaulted in a place where he or she has a right to be." https://lewiscountywa.gov/sheriff/information-on-use-of-deadly-force


"The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. The laws of the State of Washington define how one can carry a weapon and legally protect themselves.

While the right to keep and bear arms and the laws pertaining to use of force reside in separate documents, they are closely intertwined on issues of deadly force. The instrument of deadly force is not limited to a firearm and can be anything, including someone’s bare hands.

It is your obligation to act in a responsible manner in exercising your right to keep and bear arms, and at the same time know and understand the laws governing the use of deadly force.

Over the years, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has investigated several encounters involving citizens using deadly force. Some of these incidents involved self-defense, others involved protection of property. Many times the use of deadly force was clearly justified, sometimes it was not, and occasionally it was ambiguous. In those cases where the use of force was not justified or ambiguous, the user of the force was charged and the matter put before the court system for determination.

As a law enforcement officer, I field many questions concerning the use of deadly force. Unfortunately, I often find confusion and misinformation exists among members of the public on this very important topic. The bottom line is…if you use deadly force, the law will protect you, but only if you have acted within the law. The decision to arm yourself is a personal choice, as is the choice to use deadly force in an encounter.

Before you decide to arm yourself with a weapon and be faced with the possibility of using deadly force, you should first and foremost arm yourself with the most valuable weapon of all – knowledge. Possessing advance knowledge of the limits of the law, the boundaries of your rights, and the capabilities of your weapon, will not only enhance your ability to effectively and safely react during a potential deadly force encounter, but will also increase your chances of surviving under the most stressful conditions." - Excerpt from above link.