Arizona Castle Doctrine


Self-defense is justified in cases where a person feels it necessary to stand up for themselves against burglary, kidnapping, murder, or great bodily harm. This could be one’s business, residential property, or anywhere the person has a right to be.

The Arizona Castle Doctrine are the laws that address the use of force when defending one’s self on one’s property. Under ARS 13-404, people in Arizona are sometimes allowed to threaten or use physical force. This is only when they are threatened first. They must be trying to prevent serious crime or faced with unlawful physical force.

Arizona Self-Defense

Arizona’s justification statute A.R.S. § 13-404 permits an individual to act in self-defense in some circumstances. But, the law doesn’t allow the use of unlimited physical force. You’re only allowed to use force to an extent where a reasonable person would deem it necessary to protect against unlawful force. For example, if someone hits you, you are allowed to use enough force against them to stop them from hitting you. But, you cannot hit them to the ground and continue punching or kicking them.

Arizona Deadly Physical Force

Deadly force is the intensity that can cause serious physical injury or death. Tire irons, baseball bats, knives, and guns are all weapons that can cause serious physical injury. That includes serious impairment of health and permanent disfigurement. It also applies to anything that could create a reasonable risk of death.

>You are only justified in using deadly physical force in certain cases. You can use it against another person threatening or using unlawful deadly physical force on you or your loved one. But, you cannot use deadly physical force against someone who is not using non-deadly physical force.

When Deadly Physical Force Is Never Justified

There are scenarios when you are not justified to use deadly physical force. These cases include the following:

  • You are only confronted with verbal provocation
  • You are committing a crime
  • You provoked the attack
  • The intruder clearly communicates their wishes to withdraw from the unlawful encounter
  • You are resisting arrest (unless the officer uses excessive force that is not allowed by the law)

Arizona “Stand Your Ground” Law

The Stand Your Ground law means that you don’t have to retreat before using fatal physical force. It only applies if you are somewhere you are legally allowed to be. You also must not be engaged in any illegal activities. The term “right to be” comes from a 2010 amendment to the Stand Your Ground law. It states an individual has the right to be in occupied public places, public streets, or highways.

What Should You Do If You Feel Threatened?

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re required to defend yourself or your loved one, find a safe place and call 911. Clearly describe your situation. State that you feared for your life and that you acted in self-defense.

Self-defense is permitted in a situation where you feel threatened and unsafe. If you have been involved in a self-defense case, you should immediately consult an experienced attorney. Don’t try to explain what happened to the police first.


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