In the state of Arizona, the law allows you to fight — and even in some instances kill, if warranted — in an effort to protect yourself, your family, or other loved ones. With that said, proving that how you used physical force in the act of self-defense is a great deal more complicated than most people realize against manslaughter charges.
Other states in the US have similar laws, such as the popular “stand your ground” laws that explain to residents that suggest that someone would be justified in threatening to use — or actually using — physical force against another person to a reasonable extent when the first person believes it to be immediately necessary for the purposes of protecting him or herself and/or others.
In the state of Arizona, and according to ARS 13-411, citizens have no duty to retreat before making any threats of physical violence in most instances if you are in a situation or a place where you have the legal right to be, and you have not engaged in any illegal acts.
When You Can Legally Use Force, Even Deadly Force
In fact, here in Arizona, there are a variety of situations in which the use of physical force are entirely justified, not just self-defense. Physical force may also be used in the state of Arizona in an effort to thwart certain crimes, as well as to come to the physical defense of a third-party whom you may or may not know. Furthermore, when a justification defense is something you plan to use, the prosecution bears the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in question did not act in a justified manner.
The statutes that protect you and allow you to use self-defense, and even to commit manslaughter in Arizona when justified are as follows:
- Arizona Revised Statute Section 14-404: Justification: Self-Defense
- Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-405 Justification: Use of Deadly Physical Force
Threatening or using force in self-defense, including deadly force, is justified when a reasonable person could believe that that force was immediately necessary to stay safe (protect yourself) from another person’s use — or attempted use — of illegal physical force.
Self-defense is NOT justified when:
- The other person has only made a verbal threat
- If you are resisting arrest from a law enforcement officer
- If an innocent third-party was injured or killed as a result of your recklessness
- If you were the person who initiated the provocation of the other person’s use of force, except when you were the one who withdrew first and clearly stated your intent to withdraw AND the other person continued to then use illegal physical force.