In the United States, a number of states have adopted “stand-your-ground”
laws, including Arizona, Utah, California, and Texas. Under the stand-your-ground
theory, an individual is authorized to defend their own life against a
A person in such a situation has no duty to retreat from any place they
are lawfully present, and they may use force, including deadly force,
if he or she reasonably believes that they are facing an immediate threat
of serious bodily injury or death.
Perhaps one of the most highly-publicized cases was the Trayvon Martin
shooting. On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old
Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch
coordinator for the The Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community, and
Martin was staying at a residence in the neighborhood.
The two got into an altercation, and it ended with Zimmerman fatally shooting
Martin, who was not armed. After being treated for head injuries and questioned
for five hours, Zimmerman was released because there wasn’t any
evidence refuting Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense.
Under Florida’s stand your ground statute, police were unable to
make an arrest. On July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree
murder and manslaughter.
Arizona’s Self-Defense Statute
Arizona’s self-defense statute is found under ARS Sec. 13-404. Under
this section, a person is justified in using or threatening physical force
against another if they reasonably believe that physical force is necessary
to protect himself against another’s attempt or use of unlawful
You cannot claim self-defense if:
- There is no justification for the use or threat of physical force;
- In response to only a verbal provocation;
- To resist an arrest from a peace officer; or
- You provoked the other person’s use of unlawful force, unless:
- You withdrew from the altercation, or you clearly communicated your intent
to retreat and you believed you could not safely withdraw from the dispute; and
- The other person continued to use unlawful physical force against you.
Are you being accused of killing someone in Phoenix? Was it an act of self-defense?
In the face of
homicide charges, your situation demands a hard-hitting defense! To work with a
former prosecutor, contact the
Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC today.