Claiming self defense in Arizona – an explanation

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Speak to a professional, such as a Phoenix DUI attorney, and they will advise you about the case you are involved in. This advice can include information about pleading self defense, when you are charged with a crime. This type of defense is legally permitted under US law, but that does not mean the defense will necessarily work in your favor. There are also some circumstances when a defense of self defense is not acceptable.

If you are considering self defense as a defense against a crime you have been charged with, it’s important that you first understand the principal of self defense.

What does self defense mean?

Self defense is defined as the use of an amount of force that is reasonable in order to overcome physical harm, or a verbal threat. If a verbal threat is involved, it has to be of a nature that makes you think you are in real physical danger. For instance, a defense of self defense is not appropriate if someone is merely verbally abusive; but it can be if they are waving a gun at you.

This all seems quite straightforward. But, what seems like a threat to one person may not seem like a threat to someone else. This is why this defense is judged as what would apply to any reasonable person.

What amount of force is reasonable?

We referred to the use of reasonable force earlier in this article; but what amount of force is regarded as reasonable? It’s important to note that if you are going to use a defense of self defense you need to be able to show that the actions you took where reasonable, in order to defend yourself. For instance, if someone throws a punch at you, you can justifiably throw a punch back. However, if you continued to throw punches after the threat was over, this would not constitute self defense.

At this point, it’s useful to address the issue of deadly force. The only time you could be justified in killing someone is if you were in imminent danger of being killed yourself.

What does it mean to stand your ground?

Originally, self defense laws were such that you were supposed to try and escape from any conflict first. This no longer applies, in most parts of the country. In Arizona, and several other states, you are now permitted to stand your ground when you are threatened. This applies as long as you are in a place where you are legally permitted to be, and as long as you are not carrying out an illegal act. It’s important to note that, although you are allowed to stand your ground, you cannot take any action which may serve to inflame the situation.

Hopefully, you should now have a better understanding of the defense of self defense in Arizona. If you have been charged with a crime, and you need further support, you should seek legal advice.