Arizona is one of more than 20 states with the self-defense law called the ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law, which gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation.
The law has recently been in national headlines after the verdict was reached in the George Zimmerman murder trial in Florida in July 2013. There are three statutes in Arizona’s version of the law that apply to the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law:
– If someone breaks into your home, you can legally use deadly force because of a presumption of self-defense, and have no duty to retreat.
– The Castle Doctrine section of this law, which 46 states in the U.S. have adopted, has expanded it to include your car, giving you legal right to stand your ground with a deadly weapon against a carjacker. This applies even if you are unable to get out of your vehicle.
– The Arizona version of the law also states that you can defend yourself with deadly force in any place that you have the right to be in as long as it is legally permitted.
Despite these statutes, jurors are still responsible for determining if the defendant acted reasonably and that they were not the aggressor.
Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo and U.S. Senator John McCain have called for review of the law, calling it controversial and fundamentally unacceptable. While those that question the law agree that individuals should be able to defend themselves, they see a problem with the law being applicable outside of the home. This is due to the concern that people that are anywhere outside of their home may not walk away from a situation as they normally would and instead would use deadly force simply because this law allows it to a certain extent.
For more information on the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law and how it affects you as a resident of Arizona, contact an attorney at Thrush Law Group if you find yourself in need of legal protection.