Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Intruder or Burglar

Discussion in 'Firearm Laws & Legal' started by Paul Martinson, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. Paul Martinson

    Paul Martinson Lake Stevens, Wa New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    I follow a blog that has 'Feel Good Stories' of the day. The stories plucked from the various news feeds throughout the nation regarding citizens defending themselves against the bad guys.

    Many of the stories involve shootings of intruders where the bad guy ends up dead or wounded. This morning while reading one of the stories it made me wonder what would be considered justified in Washington.

    Would a resident of the home be justified in shooting just on the fact that a person was in the home uninvited, and makes no effort to leave?

    (Yes, I am speaking of someone breaking in, not Aunt Suzy)

    I realize there are classes I can take, and plan to take some soon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
    Joe13 likes this.
  2. kilimanjaro

    kilimanjaro Skagit County Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    456
    Given just the information in your post, the answer is NO, not just in Washington, but any state in the union. Absent an imminent threat to life or bodily harm, you cannot use force against another person.
     
    Barefoot African, evltwn and Koda like this.
  3. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,791
    Likes Received:
    7,077
    Is he in a coma?
     
    Brutus57 and Joe13 like this.
  4. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    6,722
    Likes Received:
    10,918
    Hard to prove you weren't afraid for your life in the middle of the night.

    On top of stand your ground laws, there are also castle laws in WA I believe although I can't remember where to find it.

    As long as you don't pepper him in the back, it's your word against a dead mans...
     
  5. kilimanjaro

    kilimanjaro Skagit County Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    456
    Wanted to add, your thread title is "Intruder or Burglar". Given your post, the correct title is "Intruder". Unless you see them stealing your property, they are not yet a burglar, just an intruder. Their intent could well be burglary, arson, rape, kidnapping, crashing on the couch, getting a beer, any number of things, but you cannot divine their intent until given actions as proof of their intent.
     
    Paul Martinson and Joe13 like this.
  6. slimer13

    slimer13 Deer Park Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Likes Received:
    3,198
    Most prosecutors figure an intruder in your home is reason enough to be in fear of imminent bodily harm to yourself or your family. Even the previously mentioned example of shooting in the back would probably be acceptable under certain circumstances (like they were heading for a kids room).

    This is evident in case after case where this very thing happened and the DA failed to prosecute.

    And after re reading the op, I'm talking more about waking in the middle of the night to find someone in your home. Not an annoying aunt not leaving after dinner when being asked.
     
    bbbass, Joe13 and Paul Martinson like this.
  7. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Vancouver Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    583
    In your given scenario, or any other where it was an option, call the police and do whatever you can to get away. Legal fees, prosecutions, jail and loss of employment can be avoided if this mindset is adopted.

    People are prosecuted for DGU that was within the guidelines of the law all the time.

    Police and prosecutors may have their own agenda that can and will be used against you. Even if you prevail, it will be a lengthy and expensive effort to defend yourself and you may be doing it from inside a jail cell.

    OTOH-I see shootings and brandishes where I fully expect to see people prosecuted and they aren't.

    At the end of the day, you will have to live with the choices you make. The law, castle doctrine, stand your ground, duty to retreat or otherwise may only have some bearing on the outcome of a DGU they are not a guarantee of anything.
     
  8. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,094
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    It depends on the circumstances.

    If the person enters your home uninvited, then that can possibly be considered unlawful entry. If they entered the home by breaking a window, picking a lock, etc., then it is breaking and entering. In either circumstance, in most locales, it is considered a threat of bodily harm as this is a special case; it is not just trespass, but entering your domicile. If you look at legal history, such actions are considered threatening to the legal occupants. It goes back to justifiable force in the Bible where if someone enters you home without permission after dark, then you could kill them. Laws have evolved - in most locales - to not make a differentiation between the time of day.

    As I said though - it depends on the circumstance. If a person was invited in, and then you got mad at them and told them to leave, and they didn't, then there would probably need to be other circumstances that would give you justification to use lethal force, since you initially invited them in.

    But if I am sitting here with my door open to allow some air through the house and some stranger walks in, then that is possibly a threat, if they then do not leave on your telling them to leave or threatening lethal force, then you may possibly be justified in using lethal force to defend yourself.

    The threat is in the entering of the domicile - which as I said is a special case; once they step across that threshold, they have illegally entered the home. You don't know if they are just confused or if this is the start of a home invasion.
     
    Koda and Joe13 like this.
  9. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,094
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    It isn't just the prosecutor, it is the law.
     
  10. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,094
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    You are under no legal obligation in most locales to leave your home and you may defend it against an intruder.
     
    Joe13 likes this.
  11. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Vancouver Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    583
    It's true what you say, and I agree with that legal philosophy.

    It's also just as true, there are zealous prosecutors in those same jurisdictions.

    If you pay attention to public responses to gun related issues (I know you do), ending up in front of a jury of your peers, with a zealous prosecutor making decisions about your freedom, using laws that most of them do not understand or agree with, as a guideline to decide your guilt or innocence, will leave you wishing you had run out of the house yelling and waving your gun.
    (Holy Run on sentence Batman!)
     
  12. kilimanjaro

    kilimanjaro Skagit County Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    456
    Lots of assumptions here. The OP asked about shooting someone who was in the home uninvited after seeing them make no effort to leave.

    Nothing about forced entry, time of day or night, weapons, threats, commands given, furtive movements, or even the location in the home, such as the the hallway leading to a bedroom, near the kitchen knife rack, nothing whatsoever.

    Until the OP can flesh out his scenario so the law can be applied, picture yourself as a responding officer when a neighbor calls in gunshots fired next door. You find a dead man inside the house, and the homeowner says "I didn't invite him, and he didn't make any effort to leave".

    Castle Doctrine applies to your home in the event of unlawful entry. Being uninvited is not unlawful entry.

    Stand Your Ground applies to negating a duty to retreat in the face of imminent threat of harm. Not making an effort to leave is not evidence of imminent threat.

    If you are wondering what you can legally do regarding self-defense, positing a scenario that contains some of the elements recognized by the courts as permissible self-defense would be a good place to begin. For all we know the OP had a party, someone crashed it, and didn't seem to be leaving.

    There must be a threat of bodily injury or to the life of the defender, or any innocent third party, such as a family member, that is genuine, imminent, and evident. Put the OP scenario at 2 AM in the morning, with a door kicked in, then you have a reasonable belief of a threat.
     
    Koda likes this.
  13. edslhead

    edslhead Vanc Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    2,189
    Likes Received:
    4,321
    Basic Overview of Self-Defense Laws in Washington State
    The anger, fear and frustration of having to deal with criminal charges when you were only acting in self-defense can be extremely overwhelming. Being accused of a crime when your use of force was called for and lawful can feel dehumanizing and unjustified. Fortunately, Washington has excellent Stand Your Ground laws and allows for self-defense as a valid defense against certain charges.



    Use of Force Laws



    In Washington, you are allowed to use force against someone in certain circumstances, including in self-defense. The laws, detailed in RCW 9A.16.020, say you can use force in the following situations.



    • When someone is getting ready to injure you – or when you believe they are
    • To prevent a malicious trespass or “other malicious interference with real or personal property”
    • To detain someone who wrongfully came on your property
    • To protect a mentally handicapped person from hurting others
     
    Caveman Jim and Joe13 like this.
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,410
    Likes Received:
    7,658
    So you are saying if you have an intruder,you should just eave your Safe haven that YOU pay for and run away?
    Maybe out to the intruder's buddies?
    You should never leave you house in this case. You have no idea what is waiting outside,how many friends he has out there.
    If the intruder is empty handed and will make for the door when he sees you then maybe don't shoot the guy.
    But if he isn't interested in leaving after he sees you,he probably has ill intent.
    And as I have said many times in these type threads,you don't have the time to have an interview to see what his intentions are or how many people he has already killed in his life.
    Or what kind of weapon he has.You have quit a few weapons around your house for him to use.
    You know you can carry a bat around most anywhere right? Because it's just a bat.
    Once you use it to hit someone it becomes a weapon,right?
    Same goes for anything in your house you don't want to get hit with
     
    Brutus57 and Paul Martinson like this.
  15. Paul Martinson

    Paul Martinson Lake Stevens, Wa New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    @kilimanjaro

    Scenario 1:
    Ok, I wake up in the middle of the night hearing a strange noise. I grab my weapon and begin to sweep the house for an intruder. I see the person going towards my my kitchen. I tell them to get on the ground. The person spins around really fast instead....justified?

    Scenario 2:
    My wife is home alone, a stranger comes in through the sliding door downstairs. She runs into the bedroom, and grabs her weapon. She is scared...she makes her way out into the living room and sees the intruder and fires....justified?

    The basic question is...Can I shoot someone just for the very reason they came into my house without permission (Breaking in). Is the very fact that they are within my home considered a threat to my or my family's health and welfare?

    RCW 9A.52.025
    Residential burglary.

    (1) A person is guilty of residential burglary if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, the person enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling other than a vehicle.
    (2) Residential burglary is a class B felony. In establishing sentencing guidelines and disposition standards, residential burglary is to be considered a more serious offense than second degree burglary.
    [2011 1st sp.s. c 40 § 38; 1989 2nd ex.s. c 1 § 1; 1989 c 412 § 1.]
     
  16. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Vancouver Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    583
    I'm saying, until I am out of options, I'm trying really hard not to shoot anybody.
     
    cigars, Mikej, Oregon Rob and 8 others like this.
  17. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,094
    Likes Received:
    6,875
  18. kilimanjaro

    kilimanjaro Skagit County Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    456
    Paul, your new Scenarios I and 2, the answer is probably Yes to both, but the burden of proof is on you or your wife.

    In S1, you are going to have convince a jury you believed he had a weapon, even if he had not yet reached the kitchen where the knives are, which is one thing a prosecutor may question. You may want to consider why you left the safety of your bedroom and did not summon police if your family is in bed and you are the one guarding the hallway.

    In S2, your wife is going to have to convince a jury, just like you did in S1. She will probably have an easier time of it, but again, why are you leaving the safety of a bedroom and failing to summon police?

    In neither scenario is there any threat given other than a perceived threat. In your home, a jury is going to very likely give you the benefit of a doubt, but you're going to have to convince them of the need for that doubt. Were his hands visible? Did he move towards her after being challenged? Was he holding anything? These are all questions that can and will be asked by the people investigating the shooting.

    Just because someone is in your home uninvited does not equate to criminal intent. You cannot divine that without further evidence. You cannot shoot someone for that reason alone. A genuine threat of imminent harm, or the reasonable perception of same, is required. Mere presence of the intruder does not rise to the level of justifiable homicide. Your first scenario, the refusal to follow a command, quick movement, and turning to face the homeowner is probably ample evidence of a genuine threat, but the burden of proof is on you.

    Second scenario, the forcible entry, unknown intruder, female alone, is probably ample evidence of a genuine threat, but again, the burden of proof is on the wife.

    Note that in both scenarios, the mere presence of the intruder is not enough to justify a homicide.
     
    bbbass and Paul Martinson like this.
  19. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,094
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    Legally, yes - in most locales, you would be justified in using lethal force in these situations, regardless of the time of day.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. You should consult a lawyer if you are concerned about this. As to whether you would be taken to court or not, is another matter; people are arrested and tried all the time for entirely legal actions.
     
    balaperdida likes this.
  20. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,094
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    No - not in the case of unlawful entry.

    Unlawful entry into a residence - especially burglary - is a special case.