Arizona Stand Your Ground Law
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 own 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”.
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 force necessary to protect themselves against the other’s use or attempt to use physical force that is considered unlawful.
There are some aggravated circumstances that 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 Not Justifiable Force?
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 that 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 also applies if a fight occurred and then it was finished later on. Watching the other person off guard does not constitute a self-defense plea.
There is a very fine line on what can be defined as self-defense. Most of the cases have to be seen on 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 situations where you do have that opportunity to take a step back and see if you could remove yourself safely from the situation, 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.
A good criminal trial lawyer can help in building your defense in a self-defense case. With ample evidence, the prosecution would have to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the act was not in self-defense, which is tougher to do than it sounds.
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