Is Arizona a Stand Your Ground State?
The Castle Doctrine has been adopted by some states that specifically address the usage of force as self-defense while in their home or on their property. Arizona does not have any specific castle doctrines that they follow or enforce. Instead, Arizona is one of 20 states that have adopted the “stand your ground law.”
The use of deadly force in defense of one’s self or others, and no duty to retreat applies to anywhere the person has the right to be.
Frequently, Stand Your Ground Laws are expansions of Castle Laws. The use of force to protect one’s residence, place of employment, or a vehicle is covered. They address many of the same topics as the castle laws (the circumstances in which this law is applicable, the prerequisites for the use of deadly force, whether a duty to retreat exists, and the level of detail that may be used in defending oneself or others); the critical distinction is the location. Many states with extensive Castle Laws that cover areas outside of the home, place of employment, etc., do not have a formal Stand Your Ground Law, and States have a great deal of variation in legal situations.
What Does “Stand Your Ground” Mean?
Much like the other states who have adopted the Stand Your Ground Law, Arizona has determined that in cases of self-defense, excessive force is permissible. It isn’t as simple as it sounds, though.
The Arizona statute states that a person is justified in using threatening or excessive physical force against another person in situations where a reasonable person would believe that the circumstances required the physical strength necessary to protect themselves against the other’s use or attempt to use physical force that is considered unlawful.
Some aggravated circumstances are also justifiable for using self-defense that could cause death to the perpetrator. Situations that include attempted murder, rape, or armed robberies are considered justifiable.
What is Justifiable Force in Arizona?
Claims of self-defense cannot be justified when there is only verbal confrontation. If you get into a yelling match with someone at a bar, you do not have the right to kill them because they yelled in your face.
In an arrest, you cannot resist and claim it was self-defense unless the officer has used unnecessary and excessive force and there is a legitimate fear for your life. Simply feeling like it is not a justifiable arrest is not grounds for fighting back.
If you provoke the incident, you cannot claim that it was self-defense if you injure the other person. The same applies if a fight occurred and was finished later, and watching the other person off guard does not constitute a self-defense plea.
There is an excellent line between what can be defined as self-defense. Most cases have to be seen in a case-by-case scenario because the situational differences cannot be duplicated or triplicated most of the time. These cases are the very definition of unique.
Fight or Flight?
When the time comes, and you are confronted with a situation that requires you to make a decision that could change your life forever by ending another, make sure you are looking at the factors. It is understandable that in certain circumstances, you will not have the time to reflect on the scenario, which in most cases is probably a justifiable reason for a stand-your-ground plea.
It is the situation where you can take a step back and see if you can remove yourself safely from the case; those are the moments it is not justifiable. If you follow through, those are the times that the prosecution will do their best to prove that it was not a self-defense situation.
An excellent criminal trial lawyer can help build your defense in a self-defense case. With ample evidence, the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the act was not in self-defense, which is tougher to do than it sounds.
Arizona Laws on Shooting Trespassers
Having your home broken into and your property put at risk is your worst nightmare as a homeowner. You have a right to feel safe and secure within your own home, but can you use deadly force if you experience an invasion? If you’re not careful, you could be the one seeking an Arizona criminal defense attorney.
Although trespassing and breaking are illegal, the property owner isn’t necessarily allowed to harm the criminal without facing bodily harm. As an average citizen, it can be challenging to gauge how much of a threat a home invader or trespasser is until it’s too late. Arizona law makes for a beautiful balancing act to protect yourself in these cases.
To help you navigate the complexities of self-defense and trespassers, here’s a look at what you should do if you encounter this situation. Knowing your rights is essential, especially if you have a gun in your home for self-defense, and you should know under what circumstances you can use it and what scrutiny you could face.
Defining threats to bodily harm
You may only use force to defend yourself in the case of a trespasser. Even once permitted to use power, you should only use as much detail as possible to eliminate the threat. Translated, this means that if someone hits you, you can only use as much detail as needed to make them stop hitting you.
It’s a grey line because rendering them momentarily unable to hit you can mean that they become revived and can attack again. You would then be at risk of them coming back to harm you further.
Because this is such a grey area and difficult to decipher, it’s best to hire an attorney to protect you if you’ve encountered a trespasser. It is your right to protect yourself and your property within your home, and ensure those rights are protected by getting a reasonable attorney to defend your case and avoid being charged as a criminal for your self-defense actions.
When assessing whether or not you acted accordingly, the courts will look at the situation and if reasonable fear was appropriate. This means that given the circumstances, you had reason to be afraid for the well-being of yourself or those around you.
Reasonable fear is assessed based on what a “reasonable man” would experience if put in the same scenario as what you faced.
The fear is sometimes deemed unreasonable according to what others might experience. This means there is imperfect self-defense. An experienced attorney can then negotiate a meager sentence for you, given the situation the trespasser put you in.
Hiring an Arizona criminal defense attorney in self-defense cases
It would be best if you did not undergo questioning until you have contacted your attorney. You may inform the police responding to the scene that you intend to wait to answer questions until your attorney is present.
If you have already undergone initial questioning, it is not too late to hire an attorney to help with the rest of your case. Just be sure to tell your attorney about your testimony to the police, this which will help your attorney develop the next steps for your case.
You should include all essential case details at your first consultation with an attorney. Bring any documentation related to the incident, including gun permits, police reports, and medical reports of any injuries you sustained. These details will help your attorney formulate your case to provide the best defense possible.