Procedimiento de DUI en Phoenix AZ

I’ve Been Charged With a Violent Crime. Can I Argue Self-Defense?

Violent crimes often carry some of the most severe jail and financial penalties. However, sometimes you are placed in a position where you have to defend yourself against a threat. Someone could accost you at a bar, as you are walking home, or even in your own home. How do you know if you can successfully argue that you acted in self-defense?

What is Self-Defense?

Legally, self-defense refers to the situation when someone who is not an aggressor becomes justified in using reasonable force against another person to prevent unlawful harm from occurring to themselves. The harm threatened has to be imminent, not a threat of future harm, and the threatened person can only use as much force as is required to cease the threat against them.

When am I Able to Use Deadly Force?

You are only justified in using deadly force to defend yourself in a very limited set of circumstances. Deadly force, which includes force both intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, may only be used if it is reasonably necessary to prevent death or serious injury. For example: if someone comes up to you at a bar and says, “Tomorrow morning I’m going to kill you,” you cannot use deadly force against them because that is not an imminent threat to your life.

Can I Use Deadly Force to Defend Others?

You have the right to defend others under the same circumstances under which you can defend yourself. For example: if you are walking to your car from work and see someone screaming “I’m going to kill you” at someone while pointing a gun at them, that is an example of an imminent threat to another’s life.

Can I Use Deadly Force to Defend My Property?

You cannot use deadly force to defend your property. You may use reasonable nondeadly force to defend your property, which means that you must reasonably believe that your property is in immediate danger of being taken. However, you cannot use a disproportionate amount of force to prevent this from happening.

Does Arizona Have “Castle Laws”?

Many states have enacted the so-called “Castle laws,” entitling property owners to use deadly force if they are in their own home and an intruder threatens to kill or cause serious bodily harm to them. Arizona does not have a castle law, but it does allow individuals to use other physical force to defend themselves in these situations.

When Can I Use Nondeadly Force?

Nondeadly force can be used under a broader set of circumstances, as it is force that is not intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. It can be used to stop the threat of nondeadly force. For example: if someone has tackled you and is trying to grab your wallet, you are likely justified in shoving or hitting them to free yourself and get away.

What Should You Do if You Are Charged With a Violent Crime?

If you have been accused of a violent crime, you should contact a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer immediately. We believe that you are innocent until proven guilty, and we will fight hard to preserve your freedom. Contact the Arizona Lawyers today to learn about your options.