Archive for the Law and morality Category

HALT! In the name of Kung Fu!

Posted in Law and morality on August 10, 2010 by policetac

Halt! In the name of Kung Fu!

With many, if not most of us, there comes a time in our training where we can actually see our skills improving. Our punches are more confident, our kicks get faster and higher.

As our timing, distance, and guaging improve, some of us also notice that we are more, and more often the one controlling the pace, and ultimately the outcome of the match, session, or fight. As the confidence builds, some of us at times even forget that we are still beatable, or worse yet, don’t truly realise the actual damages our new skills can inflict in a real combat situation. Not to mention the consequences for the same.

As we gain more confidence, we start to recognise more and more areas where changes have occurred. We find that we notice and analize threats differently. We walk a little taller, and as martial artists, we are statistically more inclined to help protect someone caught up in a violent situation than the average citizen may be.

Just as we practice how we would move or react if faced with one of the invisible enemies of our future, we should also be giving concious thought to what else may be going on around the future conflict, how we might fit into it, or how our involvement may have been be seen by others. (I.e. witnesses.)

“Is it a conflict where we’re alone? Or is someone else involved?”

“Is someone being injured? or Can they handle it?”

“Are they being victimized? or did they perhaps actually start it?”

“If I engage this situation, what are my rights, and what are my responsibilities?”

“How do I protect not only them, but myself as well?”

With society being the way that it is today, more often than not, even a “Good Samaritan” will not necessarily be seen as such by potential witnesses, and may in fact say as much when questioned. As it is you will most definitely be initially seen as a criminal combatant by responding officers who may or may not even want to hear your side of the story.

This is where knowing the laws, and how they are applied, become just as important to your art as throwing a well formed punch or kick.

(REMEMBER!) These specific statutes relate to Washington State ONLY! And should be considered only as a “guideline” of common state laws. This information is for reference use only and in no way implies the removal of “YOUR” responsibility’s in checking your state’s applicible state statutes.

Here are a few ways to help, and the basics of what you’ll need to know just in case you find yourself in a situation where it becomes necessary to use your art outside of your Dojo.

1.) You need to know the laws!
Not just by quote, but by also understanding how they apply, why they are there in the first place, and how you can help these types of situations within those boundries. With the primary focus being on the criminal and civil liability issues usually created by the “Use of force in the defense of one’s self,” in the “defense of others,” and in the use of force in the “defense of property,” tend to create.

2.) Learn and practice Discipline!
Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. Lao Tzu
Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward. Napoleon Hill
It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. ~Buddha

3.) Learn how to “Stop, Breath, Evaluate, Plan, Decide, then Act” – (REPEAT).

STOP: (LITERALLY!)
Then look again.
and
BREATH: (LITERALLY!)
Focused, relaxed, steady, calm, while you stop, look,
and
EVALUATE: (LEGAL ASSESMENT, THREAT ASSESMENT, ROLE ASSESMENT, OPTIONS)
“Legal assesment” Take that breathing time to assess the situation from a legal standpoint or at least as far as to how your role in this situation will be witnessed and recalled by those there, and those who end up responding.
WHY THIS MATTERS!!!!!!!!

Because although “MOST” states follow “similar” rules of law, “EACH STATE IS DIFFERENT!”
FOR INSTANCE!
If you happened to be in Washington State, your first course of action would be to attempt to summon help!
or
(Possibly find yourself guilty of a crime.)
In this case:

RCW 9A.36.160 –
Failing to summon assistance. – A Criminal Offense (See end for full code)

Ok, so let’s say you witness a fight between a man and a woman. (I.e. :Domestic Violence)
(And tell your significant other to call 911)
BUT!
Then you just jump up, charge out and start beating up on the male so as to heroicly save the woman from his evil and violent assault.

(You forgot the first steps)

You’ve hit this guy a couple of times, separated him from the woman, but she continues her attack. You try and continue restraining him while dealing with her. All the witnesses see is you hitting this guy, this woman attacking, and maybe even you holding him for her. Cops roll up. See you restraining “someone”, assume you’re the assailant and order you to cease. But the guy struggles, you resist for a second (Letting go is hard), now the cops attack and restrain you while “assessing” YOU! Witnesses come up, say, “All I saw was that man hitting that other guy and holding him so she could beat on him. The woman says “No, he was trying to help.” The guy says, “Bullshit!, Me and the girlfriend were just arguing and this guy came up and just started hitting me. Next thing I know, he was holding me and she was hitting me too!” NOW WHO ARE THEY GOING TO BELIEVE?
Maybe you eventually. Hopefully. Surely?
DON’T COUNT ON IT!

“Role assessment” is the act of determining each persons “role” in the situation. (victim, assailant, witness, Etc.)
This includes yourself and how your actions will eventually affect the situation.

“Threat assessment” is the act of becoming aware of a situation directly through the senses, including hearing and seeing, thereby making a reasonable determination about the risks involved. Being aware of any verbal and nonverbal signals that indicate an assault is probable or even imminent.
Assessing behavior and preventing a physical assault should be accomplished whenever possible.

(It is critical to recognize and assess aggressive verbal and physical actions of a person. Recognizing verbal and nonverbal aggressive behavior signals will aid in preventing and de-escalating situations. This will also help prepare you mentally and physically to take immediate counter actions should a physical assault occur.)

These include but are not limited to:
Verbal aggression – yelling, swearing, etc.
A change in posture – stands taller, sets head and shoulders, moves away/moves closer, points, forms fist.
Face becomes red, lips separate to show teeth, breathing becomes faster, and perspiration appears on the skin.
Individual ignores others, looks away or stares through people.
Creates a false sense of security by becoming very cooperative or acting incapacitated.
Aggression redirected to something/someone else, such as breaking pencils, kicking, chairs, yelling at bystanders.
Individual’s stance changes – blades body, lowers center of gravity, shifts weight.
Lips become tight as breathing, though still rapid, deepens. The face loses its flush to become pale.
Hands tighten, open or closed, arms and shoulders will shift.
Individual may bob or rock while shifting eyes to possible targets.
Individual may stop all motion in defiance.
Head will come down, chin tucked, eyebrows tightened and dropped.

“Options” Self explanitory.

4.) Learn how to communicate effectively during a stress situation.
Specificly with regards to “Conflict Resolution” techniques.
These should focus on:

Managing Aggression
“Aggression” can be defined as any behaviour that is perceived by the victim as being deliberately harmful and damaging either psychologically or physically.
·
Know the signs: Standing tall, red faced,raised voice, rapid breathing, direct prolonged eye contact, exaggerated gestures.
Know the reasons: Frustration, unfairness, humiliation, immaturity, excitement, learned behavior, reputation, decoy, Etc.

Communication
“Communication” is a two-way process that relates to verbal interaction (listening, speaking and hearing), non-verbal interaction (interpretation and observational skills – looking and seeing).
To minimise communication problems use language appropriate to the person if possible. Take time to communicate, check they are understood, encourage and give feedback.
Everybody has a unique background and history with influences and experiences that form our way of looking at the world. It is important to recognise our prejudices for what they are and to work round the prejudices of others.
·
During communication attempts, be aware not to create an intrusion of personal space: By not standing too close to the person
Remember to be aware of non-verbal messages that you send as well as recognising those in your opponent.
Use “active listening” techniques such as, lowering your voice, project confidence, use statement reflection and “I” statements.
Avoid using argumentitive comments, staring, bravado.
Be aware of and use,

Non-verbal communication
As best as tacticly possible, assume a calm, open posture.
Keep both hands visible
Pay attention to non-verbal clues (i.e. eye contact).
Allow greater body space than normal.
Reduce direct eye contact (as it may be taken as a confrontation)
Avoid sudden movements that may startle or be perceived as an attack.

NEVER THREATEN: Once you have made a threat or given an ultimatum you have ceased all negotiations and put yourself in a potential win lose situation.

Defusion Strategies
Before anything else happens seek to defuse the situation. A person who is out of control will be under the influence of the adrenal cocktail. You should aim to do nothing to escalate their state of mind while being prepared to defend yourselve if necessary.

De-escalation Techniques
Notice they’re all the same?

5.) “Focus Danial San, Focus!”
The minute you find that you are no longer the one in control of the situation, you are no longer providing any form of assistance to the situation.
Remain focused at all times.
Your job is to AID the situation, not aggrivate it, escalate it, or become victim of it yourself.
Always remember, you are attempting to help someone “as best you can.” therefore, know your limitations, the limitations set forth by the laws, and the limitations of your assistance.
DISENGAGE IF NECESSARY!!!!!!!!

6.) Specificly study and refine “restraint,” “disarming,” and “non-lethal disabling,” techniques.
Pressure Point Control Tactics, Joint Locks and Takedowns.
Defensive Counterstrikes, Shoulder Pin (Neck Restraint).
Mandibular angle pressure point control
Avoidance Techniques for High, Middle and Low Attacks.
Ground Escapes from Top and Rear Mount.
Impact Weapons.

“Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought.”
– Henri L. Bergson

AGAIN: Remember! The author of this paper assumes no responsibility for any injury, civil, criminal, personal, or otherwise as a result of the publication of this paper.

This paper is for “Research” purposes only!!!
Author is “NOT” a lawyer nor law enforcement officer.
Use any information given as only a guideline to help conduct your own research.

The author advises seeking professional help from qualified law enforcement professionals in any situation you are not qualified in, trained for, or legally authorized to engage in.

BASIC LAW AS TRADITIONALLY APPLIED IN ASSAULT CHARGES AND DEFENSE

Legal liability is the legal bound obligation to pay debts. :
In law a person is said to be legally liable when they are financially and legally responsible for something.
Legal liability concerns both civil law and criminal law.

CIVIL LIABILITY: –

To commit an offence involving: “ordinary liability” as opposed to: “strict liability” , the prosecution must be able to prove both a “mens rea” and an “actus reus,” (i.e., a person cannot be guilty of the offence for their actions alone.) There must also be an appropriate intention, knowledge, recklessness, or criminal negligence at the relevant time (see concurrence).) Recklessness may constitute an offense against property or involve significant danger to another person.

Criminal law recognizes recklessness as one of the mens rea elements to establish liability. It shows less culpability than intention, but more culpability than criminal negligence.

The test of any mens rea element is always based on an assessment of whether the accused had foresight of the prohibited consequences and desired to cause those consequences to occur.

The three types of test are:

1. Subjective where the court attempts to establish what the accused was actually thinking at the time the actus reus was caused;

2. Objective where the court imputes mens rea elements on the basis that a reasonable person with the same general knowledge and abilities as the accused would have had those elements; or

3. hybrid, i.e. the test is both subjective and objective.

The most culpable mens rea elements will have both foresight and desire on a subjective basis. Recklessness usually arises when an accused is actually aware of the potentially adverse consequences to the planned actions, but has gone ahead anyway, exposing a particular individual or unknown victim to the risk of suffering the foreseen harm but not actually desiring that the victim be hurt. The accused is a social danger because they gamble with the safety of others, and the fact they might acted to try to avoid the injury from occurring is relevant only to mitigate the sentence. Note that gross criminal negligence represents such a serious failure to foresee that in any other person, it would have been recklessness. Hence, the alternative phrase “wilful blindness” acknowledges the link representing either that the accused deliberately engineered a situation in which they were ignorant of material facts, or that the failure to foresee represented such a danger to others that it must be treated as though it was reckless.

CULPABILITY: – “Culpability describes the degree of one’s blameworthiness in the commission of a crime or offense. Except for strict liability crimes, the type and severity of punishment often follow the degree of culpability.”

Modern crimes codes in the United States usually make distinct four degrees of culpability.

INTENT: (Purpose) – “The mental purpose, aim, or design to accomplish a specific harm or result by acting in a manner prohibited by law.”
* A person causes a result purposely if the result is his/her goal in doing the action that causes it,

A.) A person acts purposefully (Intentionally) with respect to a material element of an offence when:
1.) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and
2.) if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.

The term specific intent is commonly used in criminal and tort law to designate a special state of mind that is required, along with a physical act, to constitute certain crimes or torts. Specific intent is usually interpreted to mean intentionally or knowingly.

Courts have defined specific intent as the “subjective” desire or knowledge that the prohibited result will occur.

Intent and motive are commonly confused, but they are distinct principles and differentiated in the law. Motive is the cause or reason that prompts a person to act or fail to act. Intent refers only to the state of mind with which the act is done or omitted. Because intent is a state of mind, it can rarely be proved with direct evidence and ordinarily must be inferred from the facts of the case. Evidence of intent is always admissible to prove a specific-intent crime, but evidence of motive is only admissible if it tends to help prove or negate the element of intent.

A defendant may testify at trial as to his intent. Whether the defendant intended to break the law does not matter, however; rather, the issue is whether he intended to do that which is unlawful.

B.) A person acts knowingly with respect to a material element of an offense when:
* A person causes a result knowingly if he/she knows that the result is virtually certain to occur from the action he/she undertakes,

1. if the element involves the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances, he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist; and
2. if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result.

RECKLESSNESS: – “Conduct whereby the actor does not desire harmful consequence but…foresees the possibility and consciously takes the risk.”
* A person causes a result recklessly if he/she is aware of and disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk of the result occurring from the action,

C.) A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and intent of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.

Or, alternatively as “a state of mind in which a person does not care about the consequences of his or her actions.” In American courts, a wrongdoer who recklessly causes harm can be held to the same liability as a person who intentionally does so.

NEGLIGENCE: – “Failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in protecting others from a risk of harm. It may render one civilly and sometimes criminally liable for resulting injuries.” The doctrine of negligence does not require the elimination of all risk, but rather only foreseeable and unreasonable risk.
* A person causes a result negligently if there is a substantial and unjustifiable risk he/she is unaware of but very much should be aware of.

D.) A person acts negligently with respect to a material element of an offense when he should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the actor’s failure to perceive it, considering the nature and intent of his conduct and the circumstances known to him, involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.

CIVIL LIABILITY

In a civil case, it is the victim (or his estate) bringing the action. While there are many similarities to a criminal charge, it is important to understand that the civil plaintiff must only prove his case ‘by a preponderance of the evidence’. This is a much lighter burden than the criminal standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. The principal tort actions which a victim who defends himself might face, include battery, assault and wrongful death.

STRICT LIABILITY: – “Absolute legal responsibility for an injury that can be imposed on the wrongdoer without proof of carelessness or fault.”

Strict liability, sometimes called absolute liability, is the legal responsibility for damages, or injury, even if the person found strictly liable was not at fault or negligent. Strict liability has been applied to certain activities in tort, such as holding an employer absolutely liable for the torts of her employees, but today it is most commonly associated with defectively manufactured products. In addition, for reasons of public policy, certain activities may be conducted only if the person conducting them is willing to insure others against the harm that results from the risks the activities create.

In law, strict liability is a standard for liability which may exist in either a criminal or civil context. A rule specifying strict liability makes a person legally responsible for the damage and loss caused by his or her acts and omissions regardless of culpability (including fault in criminal law terms, typically the presence of mens rea). Strict liability is prominent in tort law (especially product liability), corporations law, and criminal law.

In tort law, strict liability is the imposition of liability on a party without a finding of fault (such as negligence or tortious intent). The plaintiff need only prove that the tort occurred and that the defendant was responsible. Strict liability is imposed for legal infractions that are malum prohibitum rather than malum in se, therefore, neither good faith nor the fact that the defendant took all possible precautions are valid defenses. Strict liability often applies to those engaged in hazardous or inherently dangerous ventures.

In criminal law, strict liability is liability for which mens rea (Latin for “guilty mind”) does not have to be proven in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus (Latin for “guilty act”) although intention, recklessness or knowledge may be required in relation to other elements of the offence. The liability is said to be strict because defendants will be convicted even though they were genuinely ignorant of one or more factors that made their acts or omissions criminal. The defendants may therefore not be culpable in any real way, i.e. there is not even criminal negligence, the least blameworthy level of mens rea.

Strict liability laws were created in the 19th century to improve working and safety standards in factories. Needing to prove mens reas on the part of the factory owners was very difficult and resulted in very few prosecutions. The creation of strict liability offences meant that convictions were increased. Common strict liability offences today include the selling of alcohol to underage persons.

These laws are applied either in regulatory offences enforcing social behaviour where minimal stigma attaches to a person upon conviction, or where society is concerned with the prevention of harm, and wishes to maximise the deterrent value of the offence. The imposition of strict liability may operate very unfairly in individual cases. For example, in Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Storkwain (1986) 2 ALL ER 635, a pharmacist supplied drugs to a patient who presented a forged doctor’s prescription, but was convicted even though the House of Lords accepted that the pharmacist was blameless. The justification is that the misuse of drugs is a grave social evil and pharmacists should be encouraged to take even unreasonable care to verify prescriptions before supplying drugs. Similarly, where liability is imputed or attributed to another through vicarious liability or corporate liability, the effect of that imputation may be strict liability albeit that, in some cases, the accused will have a mens rea imputed and so, in theory, will be as culpable as the actual wrongdoer.

CRIMINAL LIABILITY

Self-defense, non-lethal force:

Criminal liability: is distinguished from civil liability in that it is the state which brings charges against the defendant, as opposed to the victim or his estate. The general criminal law allows for the use of necessary and proportionate, non-deadly force in self-defense anytime the victim reasonably believes that unlawful force is about to be used on him. Pennsylvania law is generally consistent with this position. The critical language under this standard is ‘reasonable belief’, ‘unlawful’, ‘about to’ and ‘necessary and proportionate’.

In order to establish a reasonable belief, the court will use both a subjective and an objective standard. The subjective standard determines whether this defendant did in fact believe that an attack was imminent (whether reasonably or unreasonably). In arriving at this conclusion, the defendant’s state of mind is relevant. Thus, a paranoid defendant might introduce evidence of his condition to show that his belief, however unreasonable, was at least genuine.

The objective standard judges the reasonableness of the defendant’s actions rather than a belief or fear of imminent danger. The reasonable person standard is one of the most difficult aspects of the law to understand. In an effort to do justice to both sides, the law requires the trier-of-fact (usually the jury) to consider whether an ordinary person in the defendant’s position would believe that force was about to be used against him. The defendant’s (and the assailant’s) physical characteristics and past history will be taken into account, but mental condition is of no concern. Thus, comparative size, weight, strength, handicap or pre-existing injury may support a reasonableness finding, but unusual sensitivity or fear will not.

There is no simple formula for the legal application of force in self-defense under American law. The confusion is due, in part, to the complexity of the issue itself, and in part to the variety of state laws within the American legal system. The requirement that the force defended against be unlawful simply excludes the right of self defense when an ‘assailant’, such as a police officer, is legally authorized to use force. It must be noted however, that a majority of jurisdictions allow the use of force, including deadly force, in resisting an attack by a person not known to be a police officer, and the use of non-deadly force against a known police-officer attempting to make a wrongful arrest. Pennsylvania does not allow the use of force in resisting wrongful arrest, but it does allow the use of force if an arresting officer unlawfully threatens to use deadly force, or does not identify himself.

RCW 9A.16.010
Definitions.

In this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required:

(1) “Necessary” means that no reasonably effective alternative to the use of force appeared to exist and that the amount of force used was reasonable to effect the lawful purpose intended.

(2) “Deadly force” means the intentional application of force through the use of firearms or any other means reasonably likely to cause death or serious physical injury.

Deadly force: Any force used with the purpose of causing, or knowing it can cause a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm. Example: Taking both the Reasonable and Excessive use of force into consideration, basically any technique used after reasonable force without justification, may be deemed deadly depending on the severity of the injury you caused.

U.S. courts are split with respect to an additional factor in the lawfulness of the use of deadly force in self-defense. A minority of jurisdictions require a victim to retreat to the wall if it is safe to do so, before using deadly force. ‘Retreat to the wall’ is generally construed to mean taking any reasonable and apparent avenue of exit. However, even minority jurisdictions do not require retreat under three circumstances. There is no duty to retreat from one’s own home, if one is being or has been robbed or raped, or if the victim is a police-officer making a lawful arrest. In 1996 the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that “although a person is afforded discretion in determining necessity, level and manner of force to defend one’s self, the right to use force in self defense is a qualified, not an absolute right.” Pennsylvania is a retreat jurisdiction.

“ABOUT TO”: refers to the imminence requirement for the right to self-defense. It is not enough that the assailant threatens to use force in the future, or upon the happening of a certain event. Thus the statement “If you do that one more time, I’ll punch you” is insufficient to trigger the right to self-defense. The threatened use of force must be immediate.

The force used in self defense must reasonably appear to be necessary to prevent the attack, and must be proportionate to the gravity of the attack. Thus, for example, if an assailant is about to slap the victim, responding with the use of a fire-arm would be excessive and therefore beyond the scope of the right to self-defense. The proportionality standard under Pennsylvania law is articulated as a prohibition on the use of excessive force, but the fact that death results does not automatically produce a finding of excessive force.

Excessive force is using any force above and beyond the force required to stop the threat. Example: An assailant attacks you, and you are able to block, and counter with a reasonable amount of force. The attacker falls to the ground and is temporarily immobilized. At this point, you kick or punch him several more times.

“EXCESSIVE FORCE”: The use of continued use of retaliatory strikes when the threat is no longer immediate. For martial artists, an act may be considered retaliatory even if it followed the underlying assault by seconds. Reasonable force under assault circumstances is a difficult matter to judge with any accuracy. If you use excessively force, you can be charged with a crime. If law enforcement has probable cause to believe you used excessive force, you will probably be placed under arrests even if you were lawfully defending yourself.

If you use EXCESSIVE FORCE, you can be charged with a crime. If law enforcement has probable cause to believe you used excessive force, you will most likely be placed under arrest even if the initial self-defense is permitted.

RCW 9A.16.020
Use of force – When lawful.

The use, attempt, or offer to use force upon or toward the person of another is not unlawful in the following cases:

(1) Whenever necessarily used by a public officer in the performance of a legal duty, or a person assisting the officer and acting under the officer’s direction;

(2) Whenever necessarily used by a person arresting one who has committed a felony and delivering him or her to a public officer competent to receive him or her into custody;

(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;

(4) Whenever reasonably used by a person to detain someone who enters or remains unlawfully in a building or on real property lawfully in the possession of such person, so long as such detention is reasonable in duration and manner to investigate the reason for the detained person’s presence on the premises, and so long as the premises in question did not reasonably appear to be intended to be open to members of the public;

(5) Whenever used by a carrier of passengers or the carrier’s authorized agent or servant, or other person assisting them at their request in expelling from a carriage, railway car, vessel, or other vehicle, a passenger who refuses to obey a lawful and reasonable regulation prescribed for the conduct of passengers, if such vehicle has first been stopped and the force used is not more than is necessary to expel the offender with reasonable regard to the offender’s personal safety;

(6) Whenever used by any person to prevent a mentally ill, mentally incompetent, or mentally disabled person from committing an act dangerous to any person, or in enforcing necessary restraint for the protection or restoration to health of the person, during such period only as is necessary to obtain legal authority for the restraint or custody of the person.

SELF – DEFENSE, LETHAL FORCE

The standard for use of deadly force is, predictably, higher. The general criminal law allows for the use of deadly force anytime a faultless victim reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him. Again, Pennsylvania law is generally consistent with this standard.

The faultlessness requirement does not mean that the victim must be pure of heart and without sin. It does mean that the right of self-defense will not be available to one who has substantially encouraged or provoked an attack. The general rule is that words alone are not enough to be considered a provocation under this standard, but there are exceptions. For example, saying ‘I am about to shoot you’ might well constitute sufficient provocation.

One of the circumstances which helps to determine the level of threat encountered by the victim is the nature of the assailant’s weapon (if any). As a general rule, anything which might be used to kill a person, no matter how odd, is considered a deadly weapon. Thus, a chair, a lamp or a screwdriver may all be considered deadly weapons. In some instances, the law will treat a trained fighters hands as a deadly weapon, but in order to trigger the right to self-defense using lethal force against such a person, the victim must, of course, know of the attacker’s special training.

RCW 9A.16.040
Justifiable homicide or use of deadly force by public officer, peace officer, person aiding. – When lawful

(1) Homicide or the use of deadly force is justifiable – (lawful) – in the following cases:

(a) When a public officer is acting in obedience to the judgment of a competent court; or

(b) When necessarily used by a peace officer to overcome actual resistance to the execution of the legal process, mandate, or order of a court or officer, or in the discharge of a legal duty.

(c) When necessarily used by a peace officer or person acting under the officer’s command and in the officer’s aid:

(i) To arrest or apprehend a person who the officer reasonably believes has committed, has attempted to commit, is committing, or is attempting to commit a felony;

(ii) To prevent the escape of a person from a federal or state correctional facility or in retaking a person who escapes from such a facility; or

(iii) To prevent the escape of a person from a county or city jail or holding facility if the person has been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony; or

(iv) To lawfully suppress a riot if the actor or another participant is armed with a deadly weapon.

(2) In considering whether to use deadly force under subsection (1)(c) of this section, to arrest or apprehend any person for the commission of any crime, the peace officer must have probable cause to believe that the suspect, if not apprehended, poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or a threat of serious physical harm to others. Among the circumstances which may be considered by peace officers as a “threat of serious physical harm” are the following:

(a) The suspect threatens a peace officer with a weapon or displays a weapon in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening; or

(b) There is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed any crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.

Under these circumstances deadly force may also be used if necessary to prevent escape from the officer, where, if feasible, some warning is given.

(3) A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section.

(4) This section shall not be construed as:

(a) Affecting the permissible use of force by a person acting under the authority of RCW 9A.16.020 or 9A.16.050; or

(b) Preventing a law enforcement agency from adopting standards pertaining to its use of deadly force that are more restrictive than this section.

RCW 9.01.055
Citizen immunity if aiding officer, scope – When.

Private citizens aiding a police officer, or other officers of the law in the performance of their duties as police officers or officers of the law, shall have the same civil and criminal immunity as such officer, as a result of any act or commission for aiding or attempting to aid a police officer or other officer of the law, when such officer is in imminent danger of loss of life or grave bodily injury or when such officer requests such assistance and when such action was taken under emergency conditions and in good faith:

Third parties:
Under tort principles, a victim who accidentally injures a third-party in the course of defending himself is also protected from suit by that third party. A majority of jurisdictions also allow the defense of victims only if the victims themselves have a right to self-defense. Thus, if the rescuer makes a mistake regarding the victim’s right to self-defense, he too will be liable. However, there is a strong modern trend toward protecting rescuers from suit if their wrongful assistance of a victim is based on a reasonable mistake (Pennsylvania tort law allows for a reasonable mistake). The rescuer may use as much force as the victim could have used in self-defense.

RCW 9A.16.050
Homicide – By other person – When justifiable.

Homicide is also justifiable when committed either:

(1) In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother, or sister, or of any other person in his presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

(2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he is.

Wrongful death and survivor acts:

Although traditionally any tort action abated at the death of the victim or the perpetrator, most states have now enacted ‘survival acts’ for wrongful death (it is from this old common law rule that the concept of escaping liability by killing, rather than injuring a victim, derived). Now the estate of the deceased may bring an action against the killer for all damages which occurred between the commission of the tort, and death (e.g. pain and suffering).

Further, every state has now enacted a statute providing for a civil remedy for wrongful death. Here, the a designated representative sues for the pecuniary injury to the next of kin (lost wages, lost companionship). While the wrongful death action is quite complicated, the critical aspect for present purposes is that the same defenses against the plaintiff apply as if the victim himself were suing.

Self-defense, lethal force:

The standard for use of deadly force is, predictably, higher. The general criminal law allows for the use of deadly force anytime a faultless victim reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him. Again, Pennsylvania law is generally consistent with this standard.

The faultlessness requirement does not mean that the victim must be pure of heart and without sin. It does mean that the right of self-defense will not be available to one who has substantially encouraged or provoked an attack. The general rule is that words alone are not enough to be considered a provocation under this standard, but there are exceptions. For example, saying ‘I am about to shoot you’ might well constitute sufficient provocation.

One of the circumstances which helps to determine the level of threat encountered by the victim is the nature of the assailant’s weapon (if any). As a general rule, anything which might be used to kill a person, no matter how odd, is considered a deadly weapon. Thus, a chair, a lamp or a screwdriver may all be considered deadly weapons. In some instances, the law will treat a trained fighters hands as a deadly weapon, but in order to trigger the right to self-defense using lethal force against such a person, the victim must, of course, know of the attacker’s special training.

Self-defense in tort law:

While the principles of self-defense at tort law are similar to those at criminal law, the mode of analysis, and areas of emphasis differ. In general, self-defense is valid when a person has reasonable grounds to believe that he is about to be attacked. Under these circumstances, he may only use such force as is reasonably necessary to protect against the potential injury. Since only reasonable ground are required, a genuine mistake with respect to the attack will still support the right to self-defense. Once the attack or tort has ended, so does the right to self-defense. Retaliation is never permitted.

As at criminal law, there is generally no duty to retreat, and deadly force may be used to prevent death or serious bodily harm. Even in the minority jurisdictions which require retreat (like Pennsylvania), there is an exception to the requirement if the victim is in his home. Although the attacker has no right to self defense, if the attack is non-deadly, and the victim responds with deadly force, the aggressor may defend himself with deadly force.

Case law varies widely among jurisdictions, and is constantly modifying and reinterpreting the rules of law. In an effort to provide some concrete conclusions, a list of relatively unqualified guidelines is provided at the end.

Legal liability is the legal bound obligation to pay debts. :
In law a person is said to be legally liable when they are financially and legally responsible for something.
Legal liability concerns both civil law and criminal law.

CIVIL LIABILITY: –

To commit an offence involving: “ordinary liability” as opposed to: “strict liability” , the prosecution must be able to prove both a “mens rea” and an “actus reus,” (i.e., a person cannot be guilty of the offence for their actions alone.) There must also be an appropriate intention, knowledge, recklessness, or criminal negligence at the relevant time (see concurrence).) Recklessness may constitute an offense against property or involve significant danger to another person.

Criminal law recognizes recklessness as one of the mens rea elements to establish liability. It shows less culpability than intention, but more culpability than criminal negligence.

The test of any mens rea element is always based on an assessment of whether the accused had foresight of the prohibited consequences and desired to cause those consequences to occur.

The three types of test are:

1. Subjective where the court attempts to establish what the accused was actually thinking at the time the actus reus was caused;

2. Objective where the court imputes mens rea elements on the basis that a reasonable person with the same general knowledge and abilities as the accused would have had those elements, although R v Gemmell and Richards deprecated this in the UK; or

3. hybrid, i.e. the test is both subjective and objective.

The most culpable mens rea elements will have both foresight and desire on a subjective basis. Recklessness usually arises when an accused is actually aware of the potentially adverse consequences to the planned actions, but has gone ahead anyway, exposing a particular individual or unknown victim to the risk of suffering the foreseen harm but not actually desiring that the victim be hurt. The accused is a social danger because they gamble with the safety of others, and the fact they might acted to try to avoid the injury from occurring is relevant only to mitigate the sentence. Note that gross criminal negligence represents such a serious failure to foresee that in any other person, it would have been recklessness. Hence, the alternative phrase “wilful blindness” acknowledges the link representing either that the accused deliberately engineered a situation in which they were ignorant of material facts, or that the failure to foresee represented such a danger to others that it must be treated as though it was reckless.

CIVIL LIABILITY

In a civil case, it is the victim (or his estate) bringing the action. While there are many similarities to a criminal charge, it is important to understand that the civil plaintiff must only prove his case ‘by a preponderance of the evidence’. This is a much lighter burden than the criminal standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. The principal tort actions which a victim who defends himself might face, include battery, assault and wrongful death.

CULPABILITY: – “Culpability describes the degree of one’s blameworthiness in the commission of a crime or offense. Except for strict liability crimes, the type and severity of punishment often follow the degree of culpability.”

Modern crimes codes in the United States usually make distinct four degrees of culpability.

INTENT: (Purpose) – “The mental purpose, aim, or design to accomplish a specific harm or result by acting in a manner prohibited by law.”
* A person causes a result purposely if the result is his/her goal in doing the action that causes it,

A.) A person acts purposefully (Intentionally) with respect to a material element of an offence when:

1. if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and
2. if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.

The term specific intent is commonly used in criminal and tort law to designate a special state of mind that is required, along with a physical act, to constitute certain crimes or torts. Specific intent is usually interpreted to mean intentionally or knowingly.

Courts have defined specific intent as the “subjective” desire or knowledge that the prohibited result will occur.

Intent and motive are commonly confused, but they are distinct principles and differentiated in the law. Motive is the cause or reason that prompts a person to act or fail to act. Intent refers only to the state of mind with which the act is done or omitted. Because intent is a state of mind, it can rarely be proved with direct evidence and ordinarily must be inferred from the facts of the case. Evidence of intent is always admissible to prove a specific-intent crime, but evidence of motive is only admissible if it tends to help prove or negate the element of intent.

A defendant may testify at trial as to his intent. Whether the defendant intended to break the law does not matter, however; rather, the issue is whether he intended to do that which is unlawful.

B.) A person acts knowingly with respect to a material element of an offense when:
* A person causes a result knowingly if he/she knows that the result is virtually certain to occur from the action he/she undertakes,

1. if the element involves the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances, he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist; and
2. if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result.

RECKLESSNESS: – “Conduct whereby the actor does not desire harmful consequence but…foresees the possibility and consciously takes the risk.”
* A person causes a result recklessly if he/she is aware of and disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk of the result occurring from the action,

C.) A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and intent of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.

Or, alternatively as “a state of mind in which a person does not care about the consequences of his or her actions.” In American courts, a wrongdoer who recklessly causes harm can be held to the same liability as a person who intentionally does so.

NEGLIGENCE: – “Failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in protecting others from a risk of harm. It may render one civilly and sometimes criminally liable for resulting injuries.” The doctrine of negligence does not require the elimination of all risk, but rather only foreseeable and unreasonable risk.
* A person causes a result negligently if there is a substantial and unjustifiable risk he/she is unaware of but very much should be aware of.

D.) A person acts negligently with respect to a material element of an offense when he should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the actor’s failure to perceive it, considering the nature and intent of his conduct and the circumstances known to him, involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.

Assault,
Briefly, is the creation of a reasonable apprehension of an imminent battery, in the victim. Simple fear is not enough. The aggressor must have a present apparent ability to bring about such contact. In other words, the victim must actually expect to be struck or touched. Conversely, the fact that the victim was not in the least bit afraid does not bar recovery. Thus, a professional boxer may successfully sue a weakling for assault, even though there was no actual danger of being hurt.

Words are generally not enough to support an action for assault, but words coupled with some act may be. For example, shaking one’s fist and threatening with words might well constitute assault. Similarly, a conditional threat such as ‘your money or your life’ is also sufficient to support a charge of assault. Like battery, no actual damage need result.

“ASSAULT”: The intentional creation of apprehension of immediate harm to another. It is not a threat of some future, but a threatened immediate harm. Any non-lethal violence that does not involve substantial risk of death will be an assault. You don’t have to actually touch someone, only make them think that was your intention. The degree of assault varies upon instrumentality, numbers, or difference in ability to inflict harm to someone else. For instance, shot at with a gun, the swing of a bat, or some other attempted serious act to harm.

Battery and assault,
In virtually every jurisdiction (including Pennsylvania), to make out a case for battery, the plaintiff must show that the aggressor made harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff’s person, that the aggressor intended to bring about such contact, and that the aggressor’s actions in fact caused the contact. While harmful contact is easily determined from the specifics of the situation, offensive contact is judged by the objective, ‘reasonable person standard’. As a prominent Philadelphia law professor explains, “tapping a person on the shoulder is not reasonably ‘offensive’ whereas, tapping someone ‘considerably lower’ would be.” ‘Plaintiff’s person’ means in general anything connected to the plaintiff’s body. This would include a hat, a cup in plaintiff’s hand, and on a recent bar exam, even the car in which the plaintiff was sitting! Thus, snatching a book from a person might well constitute a battery.

The causation requirement can also be deceptive. Not only would a thrown projectile which strikes the plaintiff constitute a battery, but ducking to avoid such a projectile, and hitting one’s head would also be actionable. Moreover, no actual damage need occur to bring an action for battery. The offensiveness of a non-harmful contact will support an award of nominal damages.

BATTERY: Any unwanted touching. The harmful or offensive touching of someone with the intent to harmfully or offensively touch. Simply grabbing a person in an argument, for example, may be sufficient to constitute battery. The contact doesn’t necessarily have to cause pain or injury. Examples of battery are harsh grabbing or pushing. The common defense to battery charges are: the right to self defense, reasonable touching, consent, implied consent, accident, mistake, and no intent.

STRICT LIABILITY: – “Absolute legal responsibility for an injury that can be imposed on the wrongdoer without proof of carelessness or fault.”

Strict liability, sometimes called absolute liability, is the legal responsibility for damages, or injury, even if the person found strictly liable was not at fault or negligent. Strict liability has been applied to certain activities in tort, such as holding an employer absolutely liable for the torts of her employees, but today it is most commonly associated with defectively manufactured products. In addition, for reasons of public policy, certain activities may be conducted only if the person conducting them is willing to insure others against the harm that results from the risks the activities create.

In law, strict liability is a standard for liability which may exist in either a criminal or civil context. A rule specifying strict liability makes a person legally responsible for the damage and loss caused by his or her acts and omissions regardless of culpability (including fault in criminal law terms, typically the presence of mens rea). Strict liability is prominent in tort law (especially product liability), corporations law, and criminal law.

In tort law, strict liability is the imposition of liability on a party without a finding of fault (such as negligence or tortious intent). The plaintiff need only prove that the tort occurred and that the defendant was responsible. Strict liability is imposed for legal infractions that are malum prohibitum rather than malum in se, therefore, neither good faith nor the fact that the defendant took all possible precautions are valid defenses. Strict liability often applies to those engaged in hazardous or inherently dangerous ventures.

In criminal law, strict liability is liability for which mens rea (Latin for “guilty mind”) does not have to be proven in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus (Latin for “guilty act”) although intention, recklessness or knowledge may be required in relation to other elements of the offence. The liability is said to be strict because defendants will be convicted even though they were genuinely ignorant of one or more factors that made their acts or omissions criminal. The defendants may therefore not be culpable in any real way, i.e. there is not even criminal negligence, the least blameworthy level of mens rea.

Strict liability laws were created in the 19th century to improve working and safety standards in factories. Needing to prove mens reas on the part of the factory owners was very difficult and resulted in very few prosecutions. The creation of strict liability offences meant that convictions were increased. Common strict liability offences today include the selling of alcohol to underage persons.

These laws are applied either in regulatory offences enforcing social behaviour where minimal stigma attaches to a person upon conviction, or where society is concerned with the prevention of harm, and wishes to maximise the deterrent value of the offence. The imposition of strict liability may operate very unfairly in individual cases. For example, in Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Storkwain (1986) 2 ALL ER 635, a pharmacist supplied drugs to a patient who presented a forged doctor’s prescription, but was convicted even though the House of Lords accepted that the pharmacist was blameless. The justification is that the misuse of drugs is a grave social evil and pharmacists should be encouraged to take even unreasonable care to verify prescriptions before supplying drugs. Similarly, where liability is imputed or attributed to another through vicarious liability or corporate liability, the effect of that imputation may be strict liability albeit that, in some cases, the accused will have a mens rea imputed and so, in theory, will be as culpable as the actual wrongdoer.

DEFENSE OR YOUR HOME:

Defending your home is another matter entirely. If you are trying to keep someone out of your home or office or business, you normally have the right to use some degree of force to eject them. Physically pushing someone out will not normally result in any liability. If the person uses force to gain entry, or if there is a probable danger of the person harming any of the occupants, then the amount of force used may be higher. Once the person leaves, you may not use any additional force except that which applies to citizen’s arrest.

DEFENSE OF PROPERTY::

In Pennsylvania, and a majority of jurisdictions, a victim has the right to use non-deadly force in defense of his dwelling when, and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate another’s unlawful entry or attack upon his dwelling. Deadly force is authorized when violent entry is made or attempted and the victim reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent an attack on his person. It is also authorized when the victim reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent entry into the dwelling by one who intends to commit a felony therein. The rationale for allowing self-defense in these scenarios is based upon the right of inhabitants to be secure in their homes, rather than the right to defend property, as can be demonstrated by the law regarding defense of uninhabited property.

Non-deadly force may be used merely to defend one’s property from imminent, unlawful interference. Force may not be used if some other, reasonable means would have the same effect.. The only exception to the immediacy requirement is that force may be used to regain wrongfully taken property after the taking (i.e. no longer a prevention of immediate interference) if the victim uses such force in ‘immediate pursuit’. The legal rationale for this exception is, of course, that the interference continues as long as the aggressor retains control of the property.

Deadly force may never be used in defense of uninhabited property. The popular misconception with respect to this law emanates from confusion over situations where the right to defend property and the right to defend persons therein overlap. Pennsylvania allows the use of reasonable, non-lethal force in the protection of property and notes that such a defense of property will not be regarded as ‘provoking’ an attack on the defender’s person. Pennsylvania allows the use of force necessary to eject a trespasser, short of inflicting serious bodily injury. If the defendant reasonably believes that the trespasser intended to commit a felony, then serious bodily injury is justified. When two people claim ownership over a piece of personal property, Pennsylvania law provides that force may not be used to prevent one from taking it.

DEFENSE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY:

Personal property can be defined as anything without a soul. Automobiles, luggage, clothing, money, tools, etc.

Using force to protect/defend property is generally frowned on by the law. The amount of force you use to protect property must be minimal, and generally speaking, progressive. You can’t start by breaking someone’s arm because they picked up your jacket at a restaurant.

You can avoid problems in almost all jurisdictions by first making verbal contact, then moving to physically prevent the person from leaving with or harming your property WITHOUT striking them; and then moving on to holds, pain compliance techniques, or other non-lethal methods or protecting your property.

Defense of property:

In the defense of property, a request to desist prior to the use of force is required, unless it would be futile or dangerous. There is almost never a right to self defense when the ‘intruder’ in fact has a right to be on the property. Thus, it is unwise to attack a supposed intruder without ascertaining his identity first! A significant exception occurs when the ‘intruder’ contributes to the ambiguity regarding his identity or purpose.

As at criminal law, there is a right to use force in the recovery of stolen property, as long as the victim is in ‘hot pursuit’ of the taker. Also as under the criminal standard, deadly force may never be used simply to defend property. Finally, the right to trespass for necessity supersedes the right to self-defense. Thus, a home-owner is not privileged to use force to turn away those who need refuge from an emergency.

USE OF FORCE TO PREVENT CRIME:

A citizen has a privilege to use non-deadly force which reasonably appears necessary to prevent a felony, riot or other serious breach of the peace, and some states (such as California) have extended this privilege to the prevention of any crime. Deadly force may be used only to prevent the commission of a dangerous felony, involving a risk of human life. A citizen has the same right as a police-officer to use non-deadly force to effectuate an arrest if he reasonably believes that the alleged criminal has in fact committed the crime. A private citizen may also use deadly force to effect an arrest, provided the alleged criminal is actually guilty. Here, a reasonable belief is not enough.

Pennsylvania phrases this provision differently. A private citizen is justified in using the same amount of force as if he were directed to prevent the crime by a peace officer, except that lethal force may not be used unless the defendant reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or another. At the direction of a peace officer, a private citizen need not retreat from making a lawful arrest, and may use any force he believes necessary to defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest.

Reasonable force is that force which a reasonable person thinks is necessary under the circumstances, to stop the threat and prevent further injury. Example: An assailant confronts you and advances forward. He then directs a punch towards your head. You react by dodging his blow, causing him to miss the intended target. You then follow up with a kick to his abdomen. He immediately falls to the ground and ceases his threatening actions. At this point no further physical action is required of you, other than making an effort to notify the proper authorities and reporting the incident.

Prevention of crime:

Since the right to use force is limited to the prevention of the commission of a tort in civil actions, one who subdues an attacker and then continues to use force to hold him until the police arrive, must be aware that he has moved over from a tort privilege, to the privilege of arrest under criminal law.

Third parties:

The right to defense of others turns largely on the reasonableness of the belief that the victim deserved assistance. Some jurisdictions require that the rescuer be a member of the victim’s family, or the victim’s superior or employee. Similarly, a minority of jurisdictions require that the rescuer’s belief be correct, reasoning that the rescuer ‘merely steps into the victim’s shoes’, while the majority requires only that it be reasonable. Pennsylvania law imposes no such restrictions. It does, however, require the additional showing that the rescuer believed that his intervention was necessary, and that the rescuer retreats if the victim would be required to do so.

If in the course of intentionally defending himself or another, a defendant recklessly or negligently injures or kills a third person, self-defense will not bar liability, but it will reduce the gravity of the charge from an intentional crime to a reckless or negligent crime.

RCW 9A.16.110
Defending against violent crime – Reimbursement.

(1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.

(2) When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense. This reimbursement is not an independent cause of action. To award these reasonable costs the trier of fact must find that the defendant’s claim of self-defense was sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. If the trier of fact makes a determination of self-defense, the judge shall determine the amount of the award.

(3) Notwithstanding a finding that a defendant’s actions were justified by self-defense, if the trier of fact also determines that the defendant was engaged in criminal conduct substantially related to the events giving rise to the charges filed against the defendant the judge may deny or reduce the amount of the award. In determining the amount of the award, the judge shall also consider the seriousness of the initial criminal conduct.

Nothing in this section precludes the legislature from using the sundry claims process to grant an award where none was granted under this section or to grant a higher award than one granted under this section.

(4) Whenever the issue of self-defense under this section is decided by a judge, the judge shall consider the same questions as must be answered in the special verdict under subsection (4) [(5)] of this section.

(5) Whenever the issue of self-defense under this section has been submitted to a jury, and the jury has found the defendant not guilty, the court shall instruct the jury to return a special verdict in substantially the following form:

answer yes or no
1. Was the finding of not guilty based upon self-defense? . . . . .
2. If your answer to question 1 is no, do not answer the remaining question.
3. If your answer to question 1 is yes, was the defendant:
a. Protecting himself or herself? . . . . .
b. Protecting his or her family? . . . . .
c. Protecting his or her property? . . . . .
d. Coming to the aid of another who was in imminent danger of a heinous crime? . . . . .
e. Coming to the aid of another who was the victim of a heinous crime? . . . . .
f. Engaged in criminal conduct substantially related to the events giving rise to the crime with which the defendant is charged? . . . .

SELF DEFENSE: The right to defend yourself with as much force as required to ensure your safety. The critical elements to keep in mind are:

1) the defense must be necessary – no other way out,

2) the force used must be reasonable under the circumstances.

SELF DEFENSE IN THE EYES OF THE LAW . . .

The defense must be necessary. In order for the defense to be necessary, you must be protecting yourself from:

* Imminent harm by unlawful physical assault. If the harm is not imminent, you do not have the right to use force.
* Sexual assault.
* Unlawful detention.
* You must be in danger at the present time and not threatened with some future harm.
* You may not retaliate for some past harm or attempted harm.

MISTAKE OF FACT:

An example of this is as follows:

Someone points a toy gun or an unloaded gun at you in a threatening manner and you use defensive tactics on that person believing they could have and would have shot you, self-defense would apply.

The more innocent the person or unreasonable your belief, the less likely self-defense would still apply.

Culpability. –

(1) Kinds of Culpability – Defined

(a) INTENT. A person acts with intent or intentionally when he or she acts with the objective or purpose to accomplish a result which constitutes a crime.

(b) KNOWLEDGE. A person knows or acts knowingly or with knowledge when:

(i) he or she is aware of a fact, facts, or circumstances or result described by a statute defining an offense; or

(ii) he or she has information which would lead a reasonable person in the same situation to believe that facts exist which facts are described by a statute defining an offense.

(c) RECKLESSNESS. A person is reckless or acts recklessly when he or she knows of and disregards a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur and his or her disregard of such substantial risk is a gross deviation from conduct that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.

Such as “Dueling or Brawling

Most states have laws against the classical “let’s step outside” routine for a challenge match. Unless there are rules and the match is akin to a sporting event, both parties may be guilty of a crime.

(d) CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE. A person is criminally negligent or acts with criminal negligence when he or she fails to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur and his or her failure to be aware of such substantial risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.

(2) Substitutes for Criminal Negligence, Recklessness, and Knowledge. When a statute provides that criminal negligence suffices to establish an element of an offense, such element also is established if a person acts intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. When recklessness suffices to establish an element, such element also is established if a person acts intentionally or knowingly. When acting knowingly suffices to establish an element, such element also is established if a person acts intentionally.

(3) Culpability as Determinant of Grade of Offense. When the grade or degree of an offense depends on whether the offense is committed intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, its grade or degree shall be the lowest for which the determinative kind of culpability is established with respect to any material element of the offense.

(4) Requirement of Wilfulness Satisfied by Acting Knowingly. A requirement that an offense be committed wilfully is satisfied if a person acts knowingly with respect to the material elements of the offense, unless a purpose to impose further requirements plainly appears.

MISCELLANEOUS ILLEGAL DEFENSE:

Repo man: If the repo man is taking your automobile, you cannot legally stop him from doing his job.

Landlord: If your landlord is coming into your apartment or rented home and has the right to do so under the conditions of your lease, you may not use force to prevent him from doing so.

“TRESPASS TO LAND”: Basically, this is coming onto someone’s land without right or permission. Emergencies allow people on land and some people have the right to enter, such as police, postal service, UPS, etc. If someone comes onto land and approaches a door, that is not trespass. If an uninvited person is on your property, you have the right to ask them to leave, and if they don’t you should inform them that they are now trespassing and call law enforcement. You may not physically remove the person or persons from your property.

RCW 9.41.250
Dangerous weapons – Penalty – Exemption for law enforcement officers.

(1) Every person who:

(a) Manufactures, sells, or disposes of or possesses any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement;

(b) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or

(c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,

is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

(2) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to:

(a) The possession of a spring blade knife by a law enforcement officer while the officer:

(i) Is on official duty; or

(ii) Is transporting the knife to or from the place where the knife is stored when the officer is not on official duty; or

(b) The storage of a spring blade knife by a law enforcement officer.

ILLEGAL DEFENSE:

The use of certain martial arts weapons is illegal in many states. California, in particular, has zero tolerance with regard to the use of the BO STAFF, NUNCHAKU, ESCRIMA STICK, KAMAS, TONFA, NINJA STARS, BUTTERFLY KNIVES, etc. The whole gamut of Martial Art weaponry is on the DO NOT USE list.

Never use these weapons to defend anyone or anything. If you use any Martial Art weapon outside of a licensed Martial Art school, you are committing a felony, which is a serious crime punishable by one year or more in prison. Using illegal weaponry of any kind will often get you into more trouble that the criminal against whom you used it!

This is the primary reason a lot of schools no longer teach weapons as a means of self-defense.

Most schools due to liability issues figure that as a martial artist, it’s better to rely upon your empty hand skills if you must resort to physically defending yourself or coming to the defense of others.

RCW 9A.36.011
Assault in the first degree. – Criminal Offense

(1) A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm:

(a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or

(b) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, the human immunodeficiency virus as defined in chapter 70.24 RCW, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or

(c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.

(2) Assault in the first degree is a class A felony.

RCW 9A.36.021
Assault in the second degree. – Criminal Offense

(1) A person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree:

(a) Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or

(b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or

(c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or

(d) With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or

(e) With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or

(f) Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or

(g) Assaults another by strangulation.

(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, assault in the second degree is a class B felony.

(b) Assault in the second degree with a finding of sexual motivation under RCW 9.94A.835 or 13.40.135 is a class A felony.

Notes:
Finding — 2007 c 79: “The legislature finds that assault by strangulation may result in immobilization of a victim, may cause a loss of consciousness, injury, or even death, and has been a factor in a significant number of domestic violence related assaults and fatalities. While not limited to acts of assault against an intimate partner, assault by strangulation is often knowingly inflicted upon an intimate partner with the intent to commit physical injury, or substantial or great bodily harm. Strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence. The particular cruelty of this offense and its potential effects upon a victim both physically and psychologically, merit its categorization as a ranked felony offense under chapter 9A.36 RCW.” [2007 c 79 § 1.]

RCW 9A.36.031
Assault in the third degree. – Criminal Offense

(1) A person is guilty of assault in the third degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first or second degree:

(a) With intent to prevent or resist the execution of any lawful process or mandate of any court officer or the lawful apprehension or detention of himself or another person, assaults another; or

(b) Assaults a person employed as a transit operator or driver, the immediate supervisor of a transit operator or driver, a mechanic, or a security officer, by a public or private transit company or a contracted transit service provider, while that person is performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or

(c) Assaults a school bus driver, the immediate supervisor of a driver, a mechanic, or a security officer, employed by a school district transportation service or a private company under contract for transportation services with a school district, while the person is performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or

(d) With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm; or

(e) Assaults a firefighter or other employee of a fire department, county fire marshal’s office, county fire prevention bureau, or fire protection district who was performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or

(f) With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; or

(g) Assaults a law enforcement officer or other employee of a law enforcement agency who was performing his or her official duties at the time of the assault; or

(h) Assaults a peace officer with a projectile stun gun; or

(i) Assaults a nurse, physician, or health care provider who was performing his or her nursing or health care duties at the time of the assault. For purposes of this subsection: “Nurse” means a person licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW; “physician” means a person licensed under chapter 18.57 or 18.71 RCW; and “health care provider” means a person certified under chapter 18.71 or 18.73 RCW who performs emergency medical services or a person regulated under Title 18 RCW and employed by, or contracting with, a hospital licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW.

(2) Assault in the third degree is a class C felony.

RCW 9A.36.041
Assault in the fourth degree.. – Criminal Offense

(1) A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree if, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first, second, or third degree, or custodial assault, he or she assaults another.

(2) Assault in the fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor.

RCW 9A.36.050
Reckless endangerment.. – Criminal Offense

(1) A person is guilty of reckless endangerment when he or she recklessly engages in conduct not amounting to drive-by shooting but that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person.

(2) Reckless endangerment is a gross misdemeanor.

RCW 9A.28.020
Criminal attempt.. – Criminal Offense

(1) A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if, with intent to commit a specific crime, he or she does any act which is a substantial step toward the commission of that crime.

(2) If the conduct in which a person engages otherwise constitutes an attempt to commit a crime, it is no defense to a prosecution of such attempt that the crime charged to have been attempted was, under the attendant circumstances, factually or legally impossible of commission.

(3) An attempt to commit a crime is a:

(a) Class A felony when the crime attempted is murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, arson in the first degree, child molestation in the first degree, indecent liberties by forcible compulsion, rape in the first degree, rape in the second degree, rape of a child in the first degree, or rape of a child in the second degree;

(b) Class B felony when the crime attempted is a class A felony other than an offense listed in (a) of this subsection;

(c) Class C felony when the crime attempted is a class B felony;

(d) Gross misdemeanor when the crime attempted is a class C felony;

(e) Misdemeanor when the crime attempted is a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.

Martial arts teachers’ liability:

Under the Theory of Agency, the principal is liable for unlawful acts which he causes to be done through an agent. There are three possible ways in which a martial arts instructor might be held liable as the principal for the unlawful acts of his students, as agents. First, if the instructor appears to ratify or approve of unlawful conduct, he may be held liable for the commission of such acts. Thus, a dojo which encourages the use of excessive force, or lethal force in inappropriate situations may be seen to ratify and approve of unlawful conduct. Similarly, an instructor who continues to teach a student who has abused his knowledge may be held responsible, if not liable, for subsequent torts.

Second, an instructor may be held liable for having entrusted a student with ‘an extremely dangerous instrumentality’. “[W]hen an instrumentality passes from the control of a person, his responsibility for injuries inflicted by it ceases. However, when an injury is caused by an exceptionally dangerous instrumentality, or one which may be dangerous if improperly used, a former owner or possessor may … be charged with responsibility for [its] use….” The implications for instructors who teach potentially lethal techniques is clear.

Finally, an instructor may be liable for harm to the student or other parties as a result of negligent instruction. Anyone who holds himself out as an expert capable of giving instruction is expected to conform to the standards of his professional community. Thus, any instructor who, by his own negligence, fails to provide, teach and require adequate safe-guards and supervision, may be liable for any resulting injury.

RCW 9A.08.020
Liability for, “conduct of another” – Complicity.

(1) A person is guilty of a crime if it is committed by the conduct of another person for which he is legally accountable.

(2) A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another person when:

(a) Acting with the kind of culpability that is sufficient for the commission of the crime, he causes an innocent or irresponsible person to engage in such conduct; or

(b) He is made accountable for the conduct of such other person by this title or by the law defining the crime; or

(c) He is an accomplice of such other person in the commission of the crime.

(3) A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of a crime if:

(a) With knowledge that it will promote or facilitate the commission of the crime, he

(i) solicits, commands, encourages, or requests such other person to commit it; or

(ii) aids or agrees to aid such other person in planning or committing it; or

(b) His conduct is expressly declared by law to establish his complicity.

(4) A person who is legally incapable of committing a particular crime himself may be guilty thereof if it is committed by the conduct of another person for which he is legally accountable, unless such liability is inconsistent with the purpose of the provision establishing his incapacity.

(5) Unless otherwise provided by this title or by the law defining the crime, a person is not an accomplice in a crime committed by another person if:

(a) He is a victim of that crime; or

(b) He terminates his complicity prior to the commission of the crime, and either gives timely warning to the law enforcement authorities or otherwise makes a good faith effort to prevent the commission of the crime.

(6) A person legally accountable for the conduct of another person may be convicted on proof of the commission of the crime and of his complicity therein, though the person claimed to have committed the crime has not been prosecuted or convicted or has been convicted of a different crime or degree of crime or has an immunity to prosecution or conviction or has been acquitted.

RCW 9.41.260
Dangerous exhibitions.. – Criminal Offense

Every proprietor, lessee, or occupant of any place of amusement, or any plat of ground or building, who allows it to be used for the exhibition of skill in throwing any sharp instrument or in shooting any bow gun or firearm of any description, at or toward any human being, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

RCW 9.41.270
Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm – Unlawful carrying or handling – Penalty – Exceptions.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.

(2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:

(a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;

(b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;

(c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;

(d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or

(e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.

RCW 9.41.800
Surrender of weapons or licenses – Prohibition on future possession or licensing.

(1) Any court when entering an order authorized under RCW 9A.46.080, 10.14.080, 10.99.040, 10.99.045, 26.09.050, 26.09.060, 26.10.040, 26.10.115, 26.26.130, 26.50.060, 26.50.070, or 26.26.590 shall, upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence, that a party has: Used, displayed, or threatened to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a felony, or previously committed any offense that makes him or her ineligible to possess a firearm under the provisions of RCW 9.41.040:

(a) Require the party to surrender any firearm or other dangerous weapon;

(b) Require the party to surrender any concealed pistol license issued under RCW 9.41.070;

(c) Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;

(d) Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a concealed pistol license.

(2) Any court when entering an order authorized under RCW 9A.46.080, 10.14.080, 10.99.040, 10.99.045, 26.09.050, 26.09.060, 26.10.040, 26.10.115, 26.26.130, 26.50.060, 26.50.070, or 26.26.590 may, upon a showing by a preponderance of the evidence but not by clear and convincing evidence, that a party has: Used, displayed, or threatened to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a felony, or previously committed any offense that makes him or her ineligible to possess a pistol under the provisions of RCW 9.41.040:

(a) Require the party to surrender any firearm or other dangerous weapon;

(b) Require the party to surrender a concealed pistol license issued under RCW 9.41.070;

(c) Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;

(d) Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a concealed pistol license.

(3) The court may order temporary surrender of a firearm or other dangerous weapon without notice to the other party if it finds, on the basis of the moving affidavit or other evidence, that irreparable injury could result if an order is not issued until the time for response has elapsed.

(4) In addition to the provisions of subsections (1), (2), and (3) of this section, the court may enter an order requiring a party to comply with the provisions in subsection (1) of this section if it finds that the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by any party presents a serious and imminent threat to public health or safety, or to the health or safety of any individual.

(5) The requirements of subsections (1), (2), and (4) of this section may be for a period of time less than the duration of the order.

(6) The court may require the party to surrender any firearm or other dangerous weapon in his or her immediate possession or control or subject to his or her immediate possession or control to the sheriff of the county having jurisdiction of the proceeding, the chief of police of the municipality having jurisdiction, or to the restrained or enjoined party’s counsel or to any person designated by the court.

Everybody who trains in the martial arts should be aware of court rulings and certain laws that might affect their actions. There are not many simple, clear-cut rights as you may think. Depending on the state or country that you reside, using your martial arts skills may lead to an arrest, or a costly and complicated lawsuit. There are legal consequences in defending yourself. Remember this; in a court of law, it is assumed that you are aware of the legal limits of your actions. There’s a common legal saying, “Ignorance of the Law is No Defense.”

As a martial artist, if you ever have to defend yourself using physical force, and in doing so it lands you in police custody, you should immediately seek the aid of an attorney. When a martial artist, especially a Black Belt is accused of excessive force in self-defense, the standard is usually higher than that of a novice practitioner, a non- martial artist, and a reasonable or prudent person. Many courts believe that it is only fair that one with unique skills is held to a unique standard.

Many martial artists go through years of extensive training, some make it into the black belt ranks, but few spend the time learning the assault laws that could ultimately affect them, or for that matter, the type of force that they are allowed by law to use on an attacker.

Through out North America, most states allow its law-abiding citizens only one type of force to be used in self-defense. That type of force is one, which is necessary to fend of an attack and prevent injury. Universally, there are three types of force used: reasonable, excessive and deadly.

As martial arts instructors, regardless of style, this basic standard of martial arts and the law applies to all. Therefore, we must reevaluate our own self-defense techniques that are taught in our training halls. Is it necessary to teach our students to go above and beyond the force that it is required by law? From personal experience, I have witness at demonstrations, seminars, and at tournaments, individuals performing their self-defense techniques. And in almost all occasions, the defender took extra measures to continue to kick or punch, and even conduct bone breaks to the attacker even after the attacker was completely immobilized. Is this what we want to teach our students, or portray to the public that martial artists are ruthless? A vast majority of the public already perceives martial artists, especially black belts as walking deadly weapons. It is imperative to change that view. It is up to us as instructors to change that perception. The public must be taught that we can restrain ourselves and only take the necessary actions to stop our assailants. Ultimately, a jury of your peers will judge you in a court of law. Wouldn’t you want them on your side?

Lets rethink for a moment and ask ourselves, how can we continue tradition and still comply with the 21st Century laws. Today’s martial art instructors must take a responsible approach to teaching self-defense techniques, to include choosing the right words to describe the technique’s purpose. Don’t forget that you as the instructor may also be held accountable for your student’s actions, especially if what you’re teaching is not within the limits of the law. Lets face it, we live in a litigate society and the laws commonly govern everything we do.

CONCLUSION

For starters, self-defense is not a right, but a privilege – a privilege that can be lost in a variety of ways. The privilege of self-defense and the use of force towards another person are justifiable only when a person reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself/herself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present location. It is not a defense to use self-defense when committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent. A person in court claiming the privilege of self-defense must also establish that his or her belief in the necessity to use physical force was sound thinking, with common sense and not excessive.

One who provokes or initiates an assault cannot escape criminal liability by invoking self-defense as a defense to a prosecution arising from injury done to another. The right to self-defense is only available to the one who is free from fault. A good point to remember is, while you are defending yourself and the assailant’s threat stops, your use of force must also stop. If you continue to use force after the assailant’s immediate threat has stopped, then you may be criminally and or civilly held liable for any injury the assailant sustained after the threat was no longer present.

The law, and the facts underlying a cause of action are rarely clear-cut. Statutes and case law vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Lawyers are skilled at recasting the facts in their client’s best interest. Juries are given broad discretion with respect to determining guilt or innocence, and may feel the need to compensate an injured party regardless of fault. And even if a defendant successfully raises one of the defenses discussed above, litigation is costly both in terms of time and money.

It would be foolish to try to rely on a general understanding of the legal principles at work in these situations, in order to engage in behavior which falls just within the realm of legality. Rather, the wise martial artist will attempt to avoid any hint of liability or criminal conduct. The following general principles may be of value in this endeavor.

• Avoid physical confrontation. If there is a safe avenue of retreat, use it (regardless of jurisdiction). At a minimum, retreat to the wall.

• If confrontation is inevitable, give a warning when defending property, unless doing so would be dangerous or futile (which is often the case). This does not mean that you should list your qualifications, as the samurai of old were wont to do. Rather, you should simply give the aggressor notice that you intend to use force against him, in order to allow him to reconsider his position.

• Ensure that you are not seen as the aggressor. This does not require ‘taking the first hit’, but it does require being certain that physical contact is imminent prior to reacting (for an in-depth examination of the danger here, see the Goetz case).

• Be aware of the aggravating and mitigating factors. Is there a size, age, or ability differential? Are you or the attacker armed or trained? All of these factors will help you determine the appropriate level of force.

• Use only the amount of force necessary to deter the attack. This does not require the use of ineffective technique, but rather mature reflection prior to a confrontation about what technique (including flight) is appropriate in which situation. It would be wise to introduce this as part of training.

• Once the initial threat is neutralized, stop. This does not mean that you must give your opponent a fighting chance. Rather, you may immobilize the attacker while awaiting the police, but do no further damage.

• When intervening on behalf of a third party, ensure (as much as possible) that the intervention is justified and necessary. As a rule, interference in domestic disputes is unwise. Reconciliations can mean trouble for the would-be rescuer.

• Remember that, in this country, human rights are superior to property rights. The use of force in the protection of property is very risky.

• As an instructor, you are both morally and legally responsible for the actions of your students, both inside and out of the dojo.

As an instructor, you should know the law at least to the extent of whether your state is in the majority or the minority with respect to the issues raised above. If you do not have a lawyer or law student in your dojo, any law school library will have a copy of: Your State Statutes Annotated (i.e., Texas Statutes Annotated). Simply look in the index under the headings listed in this paper for the applicable law.

RCW 9A.04.110
Definitions.

In this title unless a different meaning plainly is required:

(1) “Acted” includes, where relevant, omitted to act;

(2) “Actor” includes, where relevant, a person failing to act;

(3) “Benefit” is any gain or advantage to the beneficiary, including any gain or advantage to a third person pursuant to the desire or consent of the beneficiary;

(4)(a) “Bodily injury,” “physical injury,” or “bodily harm” means physical pain or injury, illness, or an impairment of physical condition;

(b) “Substantial bodily harm” means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part;

(c) “Great bodily harm” means bodily injury which creates a probability of death, or which causes significant serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a significant permanent loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ;

(5) “Building”, in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes any dwelling, fenced area, vehicle, railway car, cargo container, or any other structure used for lodging of persons or for carrying on business therein, or for the use, sale or deposit of goods; each unit of a building consisting of two or more units separately secured or occupied is a separate building;

(6) “Deadly weapon” means any explosive or loaded or unloaded firearm, and shall include any other weapon, device, instrument, article, or substance, including a “vehicle” as defined in this section, which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or substantial bodily harm;

(7) “Dwelling” means any building or structure, though movable or temporary, or a portion thereof, which is used or ordinarily used by a person for lodging;

(8) “Government” includes any branch, subdivision, or agency of the government of this state and any county, city, district, or other local governmental unit;

(9) “Governmental function” includes any activity which a public servant is legally authorized or permitted to undertake on behalf of a government;

(10) “Indicted” and “indictment” include “informed against” and “information”, and “informed against” and “information” include “indicted” and “indictment”;

(11) “Judge” includes every judicial officer authorized alone or with others, to hold or preside over a court;

(12) “Malice” and “maliciously” shall import an evil intent, wish, or design to vex, annoy, or injure another person. Malice may be inferred from an act done in wilful disregard of the rights of another, or an act wrongfully done without just cause or excuse, or an act or omission of duty betraying a wilful disregard of social duty;

(13) “Officer” and “public officer” means a person holding office under a city, county, or state government, or the federal government who performs a public function and in so doing is vested with the exercise of some sovereign power of government, and includes all assistants, deputies, clerks, and employees of any public officer and all persons lawfully exercising or assuming to exercise any of the powers or functions of a public officer;

(14) “Omission” means a failure to act;

(15) “Peace officer” means a duly appointed city, county, or state law enforcement officer;

(16) “Pecuniary benefit” means any gain or advantage in the form of money, property, commercial interest, or anything else the primary significance of which is economic gain;

(17) “Person”, “he”, and “actor” include any natural person and, where relevant, a corporation, joint stock association, or an unincorporated association;

(18) “Place of work” includes but is not limited to all the lands and other real property of a farm or ranch in the case of an actor who owns, operates, or is employed to work on such a farm or ranch;

(19) “Prison” means any place designated by law for the keeping of persons held in custody under process of law, or under lawful arrest, including but not limited to any state correctional institution or any county or city jail;

(20) “Prisoner” includes any person held in custody under process of law, or under lawful arrest;

(21) “Projectile stun gun” means an electronic device that projects wired probes attached to the device that emit an electrical charge and that is designed and primarily employed to incapacitate a person or animal;

(22) “Property” means anything of value, whether tangible or intangible, real or personal;

(23) “Public servant” means any person other than a witness who presently occupies the position of or has been elected, appointed, or designated to become any officer or employee of government, including a legislator, judge, judicial officer, juror, and any person participating as an advisor, consultant, or otherwise in performing a governmental function;

(24) “Signature” includes any memorandum, mark, or sign made with intent to authenticate any instrument or writing, or the subscription of any person thereto;

(25) “Statute” means the Constitution or an act of the legislature or initiative or referendum of this state;

(26) “Strangulation” means to compress a person’s neck, thereby obstructing the person’s blood flow or ability to breathe, or doing so with the intent to obstruct the person’s blood flow or ability to breathe;

(27) “Threat” means to communicate, directly or indirectly the intent:

(a) To cause bodily injury in the future to the person threatened or to any other person; or

(b) To cause physical damage to the property of a person other than the actor; or

(c) To subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint; or

(d) To accuse any person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against any person; or

(e) To expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule; or

(f) To reveal any information sought to be concealed by the person threatened; or

(g) To testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or

(h) To take wrongful action as an official against anyone or anything, or wrongfully withhold official action, or cause such action or withholding; or

(i) To bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other similar collective action to obtain property which is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group which the actor purports to represent; or

(j) To do any other act which is intended to harm substantially the person threatened or another with respect to his health, safety, business, financial condition, or personal relationships;

(28) “Vehicle” means a “motor vehicle” as defined in the vehicle and traffic laws, any aircraft, or any vessel equipped for propulsion by mechanical means or by sail;

(29) Words in the present tense shall include the future tense; and in the masculine shall include the feminine and neuter genders; and in the singular shall include the plural; and in the plural shall include the singular.

RCW 9A.36.160
Failing to summon assistance. – Criminal Offense

A person is guilty of the crime of failing to summon assistance if:

(1) He or she was present when a crime was committed against another person; and

(2) He or she knows that the other person has suffered substantial bodily harm as a result of the crime committed against the other person and that the other person is in need of assistance; and

(3) He or she could reasonably summon assistance for the person in need without danger to himself or herself and without interference with an important duty owed to a third party; and

(4) He or she fails to summon assistance for the person in need; and

(5) Another person is not summoning or has not summoned assistance for the person in need of such assistance.

Failing to summon assistance – Penalty.

A violation of RCW 9A.36.160 is a misdemeanor.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact the author by comment at the end of the article.
or:
Richard Brown
policetac@myspace.com

Thank you.

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