AZ Legislature Aims to Narrow “Stand Your Ground Laws
"Stand Your Ground" laws, and impacts on criminal defense.
Arizona “Stand Your Ground Laws” afford protections to those who need to use lethal force to prevent certain crimes, outside their homes and businesses “anywhere in the state they have the right to be”.
Arizona currently has some of the broadest “Stand Your Ground” laws in the county. These laws stem from what has been long known as the “Castle Doctrine” from the old adage, “A person’s home is their castile”. The "Castle Doctrine" eventually evolved into what are now known as "Stand Your Ground" laws. When used in criminal law or criminal defense contexts, they are known as Justification Defenses.
There are basically two laws in Arizona that apply to the “Stand Your Ground” laws:
1) Under A.R.S. 13-404 - Self-Defense situations. This involves justifiable use of physical or deadly force in “self-defense”. A person uses threatening or physical force against another when a person reasonably believes it is necessary to protect themselves against another’s use or attempt to use violent and unlawful physical force, or a deadly weapon. There are several exceptions to this rule where the use of deadly force by the person in self-defense is not justified. This includes resisting arrest by police; or advancing when the aggressor clearly retreats, or expresses their intent to safely withdraw from the encounter.
2) Under A.R.S. A.R.S.13-411 – To prevent a dangerous crime. A person is afforded protections under Justification Defenses if they reasonably find it necessary to use deadly force during a home invasion, or to prevent other dangerous crimes in progress or attempted.
In 2010 Arizona passed an amendment which expanded protections under *A.R.S. 13-411 outside a person’s home, vehicle or business, to the extent the encounter occurred “anywhere in the state a person has a right to be”.
Another broad provision raising eyebrows, and being revisited by the legislature is the “no duty to retreat” law. Basically, “no duty to retreat means” a person who feels the need to protect themselves, home and property by preventing a dangerous crime, does not have the obligation to retreat or stand down before using deadly force, and that deadly force should be used only as a last result. Types of situations this would occur in would be those crimes specified under law such as burglary, armed robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and other dangerous crimes.
In light of recent tragedies and court rulings the state of Arizona is being urged by legislators to formally revisit some of the expanded more broad provisions liberal in an effort to narrow them. They are concerned that people who would ordinarily walk away from an encounter, might remain in a violent encounter. Their goal is to assure that people are exercising restraint and discipline if it is safe to do so, and to restrict the infinite locations a person many be afforded protection under the law due to the 2010 amendment.