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Does Arizona Have a Stand-Your-Ground Law?

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 perceived threat.

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 physical force.

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:
  1. 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
  2. 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.

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