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Thread: OT A bit, but question regarding breaking the law to prevent a crime

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    What is the general term used to describe "Breaking the law to prevent a greater law from being broken"?

    For example, a city has an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of a firearm within city limits, but an individual is justified when discharging a firearm in self defense of an intruder.

    Or the State has a law which prohibits the carry of a firearm inside a liquor establishment that is off limits to those under 21, however, a customer present in the bar witnesses a large man severely beating a smaller man, and the customer runs out to his car, grabs his firearm, comes back in, and intervenes.

    Is there a general term used to describe these sort of situations?

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    Regular Member OrangeIsTrouble's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's called common sense. But a lot of politicians/lawmakers don't possess that. :P

    Sorry dude, I don't know the answer to that question.


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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    What is the general term used to describe "Breaking the law to prevent a greater law from being broken"?

    For example, a city has an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of a firearm within city limits, but an individual is justified when discharging a firearm in self defense of an intruder.

    Or the State has a law which prohibits the carry of a firearm inside a liquor establishment that is off limits to those under 21, however, a customer present in the bar witnesses a large man severely beating a smaller man, and the customer runs out to his car, grabs his firearm, comes back in, and intervenes.

    Is there a general term used to describe these sort of situations?
    In Washington it is Law of Necessity.

    Competing Harms or Necessity in Washington State (77 Wn. App. 222, STATE v. JEFFREY)

    Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
    2008 Edition Prepared by the Washington Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions, Hon. Sharon S. Armstrong, Co-Chair, Hon. William L. Downing, Co-Chair

    Part IV. Defenses
    WPIC CHAPTER 18. Miscellaneous Defenses

    WPIC 18.02 Necessity—Defense

    Necessity is a defense to a charge of __________ if (1) the defendant reasonably believed the commission of the crime was necessary to avoid or minimize a harm; and (2) the harm sought to be avoided was greater than the harm resulting from a violation of the law; and (3) the threatened harm was not brought about by the defendant; and (4) no reasonable legal alternative existed. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that you must be persuaded, considering all the evidence in the case, that it is more probably true than not true. If you find that the defendant has established this defense, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty [as to this charge]. NOTE ON USE

    Use in every case in which the common law defense of necessity is asserted. Do not use when a statute, or case law, provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved. See the Comment below. Use WPIC 19.17, Bail Jumping—Unforeseen Circumstances—Defense, and WPIC 19.16, Escape—First and Second Degree—Unforeseen Circumstances—Defense, when the offense charged is bail jumping or escape. Use WPIC 52.10, Marijuana—Qualifying Patient—Defense, or WPIC 52.11, Marijuana—Designated Provider—Defense, when the offense charged is possession, delivery, or manufacturing of marijuana. Use WPIC 94.10, Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle—Reasonable Belief that the Pursuer is Not a Police Officer—Defense, when the offense charged is eluding and the defendant is claiming that the identity of the driver of the pursuing vehicle was unknown to him or her. For certain medical necessity cases, paragraph (4) may need to be revised to add the phrase “equally effective.” See discussion in the Comment below.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
    • I am not your Mommy or Daddy and do not sugar coat it but I will tell you simply as how I see it, it is up to you on how you will or will not use it.
    • IANAL, all information I present is for your review, do your own homework.

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    Thanks, BigDave. That's what I was looking for.

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    Thanks, BigDave. That's what I was looking for.
    Welcome and you commented on this subject before http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...ight=Necessity


    Don't worry we all forget once in awhile.
    Dave
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
    • I am not your Mommy or Daddy and do not sugar coat it but I will tell you simply as how I see it, it is up to you on how you will or will not use it.
    • IANAL, all information I present is for your review, do your own homework.

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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    What is the general term used to describe "Breaking the law to prevent a greater law from being broken"?

    For example, a city has an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of a firearm within city limits, but an individual is justified when discharging a firearm in self defense of an intruder.

    Or the State has a law which prohibits the carry of a firearm inside a liquor establishment that is off limits to those under 21, however, a customer present in the bar witnesses a large man severely beating a smaller man, and the customer runs out to his car, grabs his firearm, comes back in, and intervenes.

    Is there a general term used to describe these sort of situations?
    I believe you are referring to common law defense of "necessity" I cant find an RCW for it right now but I think I remember reading one before.
    I think to use the necessity defense one must demonstrate that the consequences/harm of obeying the law would have been more severe then violating the law, and that you have exhausted all reasonable legal options available.

    Also the laws against firing weapons in public have exemptions for self defense.
    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson March 4 1801

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    oops Dave already answered I guess I should of refreshed my browser before I replied
    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson March 4 1801

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