Examining Arizona’s self-defense laws

Examining Arizona’s self-defense laws
Jul 07 2022
Ryan Garvey Attorneys

When people in Arizona hear one claim self-defense when answerings to accusations of a violent assault, many might expect them to react with skepticism. Indeed, most might say that such claims are self-serving. Yet at the same time, many people would likely recognize that they might envision situations where they might feel compelled to act to defend themselves (or others).

Lawmakers also recognize this potential, and thus every state in the U.S. has laws on the books that justify self-defense. The question then becomes what situations Arizona’s self-defense laws address.

Reviewing self-defense legal principles

Were one to review all of the country’s various self-defense laws, they might likely find that all follow one of two distinct legal principles: “The Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground.” “The Castle Doctrine” states that one may react with force when another attempts to unlawfully enter into their home, vehicle or place of business. The “Stand Your Ground” principle, on the other hand, does not place any locality restrictions on self-defense, instead extending the right to any situation in which one feels their safety threatened.

Which philosophy does Arizona subscribe to? According to information shared by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state follows the “Stand Your Ground” doctrine.

Justifying the use of deadly force

Local law even allows for the use of deadly force (in certain scenarios). Per Section 13-405 of Arizona’s Criminal Code, the law justifies such force in cases where one believes it to be absolutely necessary to deter the immediate threat of similar action against themselves. This right pertains to any scenario in which the defender finds themselves in any location in which they are legally entitled to be.

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