Can You Legally Shoot A Trespasser On Private Property In Washington State?

As a kid growing up on the Grand Ronde River in Washington State, it was pretty common to have a rifle hanging from the gun rack in the truck.

canva
canva
loading...

What Can I Legally Do About A Trespasser In Washington State?

My foster family had 100 acres and had no trespassing signs up as we had horses and cattle grazing in the fields.

I don't recall an instance where my foster dad had to pull the gun on a trespasser.

If we did come across one, he'd kindly ask them to leave and they would move on considering you could still see the rifle in the truck

Get our free mobile app
canva
canva
loading...

It did get me thinking if it was actually legal to shoot a trespasser on your private property in Washington State and here's what Washington State law says about it:

In Washington State, a person may use reasonable force to defend themselves or another person from what they reasonably believe to be the imminent use of unlawful force. This is known as the "defense of self or others" and is recognized under Washington law as a justifiable use of force.

However, the use of deadly force, such as shooting someone, is only allowed in certain situations.

canva
canva
loading...

According to Washington Law, deadly force may be used when a person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony involving the use or threat of deadly force, or to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or another person.

Therefore, if a trespasser is merely on your property and not posing an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death, the use of deadly force would not be justified under Washington law. In such a situation, you should contact the police and let them handle the situation.

 

As with my foster dad, he kindly asked folks to leave and they did so I never saw an issue with a trespasser but if you can't get a trespasser off your land, call the authorities first before you solve the solution with violence.

You can read more about the law here

LOOK: The biggest scams today and how you can protect yourself from them

Using data from the BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, Stacker identified the most common and costly types of scams in 2022.

LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?

Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.

More From 98.3 KEYW