Self-Defense Law: Is Arizona a Stand Your Ground State?
In certain situations, the use of lethal force is the only way to defend yourself from serious injury or death. Some states have a “stand your ground” law that protects individuals in these situations. Knowing whether Arizona is a stand-your-ground state and when self-defense is justified is essential for defending your rights, so the team at Van Norman Law put together this guide to help you understand Arizona’s self-defense laws.
Is Arizona a Stand Your Ground State?
Arizona does not have a specific stand-your-ground law. However, that does not mean that self-defense can’t be justified according to Arizona law. It is legal to use physical or deadly force against an attacker to defend yourself, property, premises, or another person as long as certain conditions are met.
Arizona Self-Defense Laws
When Is Self-Defense Justified in Arizona?
According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-404, self-defense is justified if you reasonably believe that using physical force against an attacker is immediately necessary for your protection. However, it is only justified if the attacker is using or attempting to use physical force against you.
Self-defense is not justified when:
- There is no longer an immediate threat
- You use greater force against the attacker than was used against you (such as killing someone for slapping you)
- Someone only verbally provokes you (yells or uses curse words).
- You resist an arrest that you know, or should reasonably know, is being made by a peace officer or by someone acting in the peace officer’s presence under their instruction. Self-defense could be justified if the peace officer uses physical force beyond what the law allows.
- You provoke the attacker’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force. Self-defense may be justified in this case if all of the following conditions are met:
- You withdraw from the situation or clearly communicate your intent to withdraw
- You reasonably believe that you cannot safely withdraw
- And the attacker continues to use or attempts to use unlawful physical force against you
When Is Deadly Force Justified?
Like many stand-your-ground laws, ARS 13-405 states that you do not have to retreat before you threaten or use deadly force against a person trying to use deadly force against you as long as you are in a place you are legally allowed to be and are not committing a crime.
For example, if someone points a gun at you on the sidewalk, you are legally allowed to use a deadly weapon to defend yourself.
Other conditions that must be met for deadly force to be justified include:
- You would be justified in using physical force under ARS 13-404
- And you have a reasonable belief that using deadly force is immediately necessary for your protection against the attacker’s use or attempted use of deadly force.
Defending Another Person, Premises, or Property
Under ARS 13-406, you are justified in using physical or deadly force against someone in order to protect a third person as long as:
- Your actions would be justified under ARS 13-404 or 13-405 if they were used to defend yourself
- And you reasonably believe that the unlawful physical or deadly force is threatening the third person
According to ARS 13-407, you are justified in using physical or deadly force to prevent or stop criminal trespassing in defense of the premises you legally possess or control, such as your home or business. However, your actions must also be justified according to ARS 13-404, 13-405, or 13-406. “Premises” refers to any real property or structure adapted for human residence and lodging whether it be movable, immovable, permanent, temporary, occupied, or unoccupied.
ARS 13-408 states that using physical or deadly force against someone is justified if you reasonably believe that it would prevent theft or criminal damage involving your property. Your actions must also be justified under ARS 13-404, 13-405, 13-406, or 13-411 as necessary.
Scottsdale Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing assault, homicide, or other criminal charges after an act of self-defense, you’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Arizona self-defense laws are complex, but the team at Van Norman Law in Scottsdale, Arizona knows them well. Call 480-481-0616 today to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your case.