Arizona Self-Defense Laws & Statutes Explained

UPDATED: July 2013

Unfortunately, there are too many times when someone must defend themselves against someone else committing a crime. Self-defense cases come up in all types of situations, from home break-ins to fights between neighbors.

Arizona has clearly defined self-defense laws that are meant to protect those in danger, while giving them the legal opportunity to defend themselves from harm. When police in Arizona believe someone was acting out of self-defense, they may not charge that person with whatever crime was committed under the circumstances.

Arizona Self-Defense Laws Explained

Self-defense laws outline when a person is free to use physical or deadly force against another person. In Arizona, A.R.S. 13-404 explains the justification of self-defense, stating that force may be used if that person believes:

that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force.

A.R.S. 13-405 describes the use of deadly force in the same circumstances, and says that a person is justified in using deadly force if the criteria of A.R.S. 13-404 are met and the person believes the deadly force to be necessary, or if retreat from the situation isn’t possible.

Exceptions to Self-Defense in Arizona

However, the statutes go on to state that self-defense is not justified for solely verbal altercations, or if one is being arrested with lawful force from a police officer.

The law also precludes those who provoked the other person into making the unlawful physical force unless they’ve made an effort to withdraw from the situation, or the other person continues to use force against the person who provoked the situation.

Example of Arizona Self-Defense Laws

In November 2011, David Appleton was followed by another car, a result of a road rage altercation that happened on a main street. When Appleton pulled over, he removed his handgun from his glove compartment and set it on the seat.

Minutes later, the driver who followed him approached the car, and according to Appleton, began choking him through the driver side window. Appleton nearly lost consciousness, but before reaching that point, grabbed his gun and shot the driver, Tom Pearson.

Appleton was initially charged with second-degree murder, but he claimed to have acted in self-defense. A grand jury could not hand an indictment in, nearly 15 months later, and Appleton was found not guilty.

This is just one example of the self-defense laws in Arizona, and many cases appear each year that test the requisites and limitations of the law.

Do You Need a Proactive Self-Defense Lawyer?

If you’ve acted in self-defense and have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, contact JacksonWhite self-defense attorney Jeremy Geigle.

Jeremy has years of experience lessening criminal penalties and overturning wrongful convictions. He can put his aggressive approach and knowledge to work for you.

Contact Jeremy today at (480) 467-4370 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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