How Far Can You Go in Defending Yourself, Someone Else or Your Property in Arizona?

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Jul 06, 2020 | 0 Comments

In the current age of civil rights protests, rioting and looting, people have found themselves in a position where they are forced to defend themselves, their businesses or another individual.  Many of these situations are caught on video, portrayed repeatedly and  commented upon during nightly news shows.  Examples of these incidents include storeowners in Los Angeles standing outside their businesses while holding a firearm to shoo people away or the married couple in St. Louis who stood in front of their home with a rifle and pistol to keep protestors at bay.  Unfortunately, many people in Arizona often find themselves arrested and charged with offenses such as Assault or Aggravated Assault after they act for the purpose of defending themselves or their property.


A person who admits they engaged in some type of behavior which would otherwise be against the law but says they are "Not Guilty" because they were justified in what they did are claiming a defense in Arizona commonly referred to as "Justification."  Usually, a justification defense is asserted against charges of Assault, Aggravated Assault or Homicide and involves situations where a person acts to defend themselves, another person or property.  Once evidence supporting a "Justification" defense is presented by a defendant, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person's actions weren't justified.  


Under Arizona Law (A.R.S 13-404), a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when there is a reasonable belief that it is necessary to protect themselves against the other person's attempted or actual use of unlawful physical force.  Of course, a person's use of force must be reasonable in light of the threat which is present.  Additionally, limits to a person's right to use physical force in self defense include situations involving:

  1. verbal provocation alone
  2. arrests made by a police officer acting within his duty and not using excessive force
  3. provocation of the attempted or actual use of physical force

Again, your use of physical force in self defense must be reasonable to the threat which is at hand and must also be immediately necessary.


Arizona law provides protection to people who act to defend others.  Specifically, A.R.S. 13-406 states that people can threaten or actually use physical force  to protect another person if they reasonably believe they would have been justified in using that same force to protect themselves.  Again, the amount or type of force threatened or used must be reasonable, in proportion to the harm perceived and must be immediately necessary.


Similar to defending yourself, Arizona law (A.R.S 13-408) also permits people to use physical force to defend their property.  The use of physical force is justified when a reasonable person believes it is necessary to prevent an attempt  or commission of criminal damage or theft of their property.  Except in very rare circumstances, deadly force is not permitted merely to defend one's property.


Under certain circumstances, lethal force may lawfully be used against another person.  However, given the extremely serious consequences which may occur, deadly force is lawful only when:

  • Physical force would otherwise be justified and,
  • It is reasonably believed to be necessary to guard against another's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force.

Additionally, a person may use deadly force against an intruder into their home. This is often referred to as "The Castle Doctrine" which states an individual has no duty to retreat and can use deadly force if he or she is in a place where they may legally be present and are not engaged in any unlawful activity.  Finally, deadly force may be used when a person reasonable believes it is necessary to prevent a number of crimes including:

  1. Arson of an occupied structure
  2. Burglary of a residence
  3. Kidnapping
  4. Manslaughter
  5. Murder
  6. Sexual Assault
  7. Sexual Conduct with a Minor
  8. Child Molestation 
  9. Armed Robbery
  10. Aggravated Assault involving serious physical injury or  deadly weapon.

Undoubtedly, Justification Defenses in Arizona are complicated and involve a number of nuances which must be thoroughly examined and researched by an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Perhaps some fine points to remember are:

  1. The need to use physical force must be immediate and against on ongoing threat
  2. You cannot claim self-defense if you have provoked the incident
  3. Self Defense cannot be used against verbal threats alone
  4. Your use of self defense must be a reasonable response and proportionate to the threat which is perceived
  5. Deadly force cannot be used to defend property unless it involves an unlawful entry into your home or the arson of an occupied structure.

Call (480) 833-8613 for a Free Consultation

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale or any other city within Maricopa or Pinal County,  it is vital that you contact a highly skilled criminal lawyer immediately. Tempe criminal defense lawyer Raymond Kimble will recognize available defenses and has been defending people charged with felony crimes for many years. Mr. Kimble knows how to prepare a solid defense, challenge the prosecution's evidence and negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges

With a seasoned Tempe criminal defense attorney on your case, you will have your rights protected as your attorney fights to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf. Attorney Raymond Kimble has successfully represented hundreds of individuals throughout Arizona over the last twenty years who have been accused of assault, aggravated assault and many other serious offenses.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


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