Should You ‘Stand Your Ground’ in Arizona?

woman throwing a punch toward the camera in black and white - self-defense laws

Should You ‘Stand Your Ground’ in Arizona?

Protecting yourself and your loved ones from danger is something most people consider a heroic act. However, it’s important to understand what types of self-defense are legal in Arizona. 

Knowing if you are protected under Arizona law can help you make the right decisions in a dangerous situation. While the use of force—even deadly force—is allowed in self-defense, it is important to understand Arizona’s “Stand Your Ground” laws.  


Self-Defense Laws in Arizona

Across the United States, there are laws that allow you to protect yourself when you feel your life is in danger. Every state has its own justification laws—nicknamed “castle doctrines,” “stand your ground” or “make my day” laws—and Arizona is no exception. 

According to Arizona penal code, you have the right to defend yourself in places that you have a legal right to be in, like your own home or land. Along with yourself, you have the right to protect others as well. 

In those instances, you need to have caught the person threatening you either about to commit or in the middle of committing a crime like the ones below.

  • Arson of an occupied building 
  • Armed robbery
  • Murder
  • Assault
  • Sexual assault or child molestation 
  • Kidnapping


Deadly Force in Self-Defense

While retreating from a dangerous situation and calling the police is recommended by law enforcement, lawyers, (and most likely your mom). The Arizona state penal code says: “there is no duty to retreat before threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force.” However, deadly force should always be a last resort and only used when lives are in danger


Self-Defense Using a Firearm 

If you are using a firearm to protect yourself, keep the Arizona gun laws in mind. Carrying a weapon is not allowed everywhere, and in some cases can be illegal (like on school property). In these instances, the legality of your firearm might cause you trouble. 


Revenge Is NOT Covered Under Arizona Law

Vigilantism and revenge are a risk to yourself and to others. Both can land you with serious charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assault, manslaughter, and murder. Convictions for these crimes can range, from several years in jail to the death penalty


Your First Call Should Be to Your Lawyer

When the police use force, especially deadly force, they always consult a lawyer, and you should follow the same rule. Even though you have a right to defend yourself (and others), keeping yourself out of trouble is a must. 

While you might feel justified in your actions, not everyone will feel the same. Waiting to give a statement will help you remain calm and collected, and help you to give the full story. 

If you are charged unjustly, having a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense will help secure the best possible outcome for your case. With over 25 years of experience in Arizona criminal law, Todd Coolidge is one of the best in the Phoenix area. Contact our offices today for a consultation. 


Images used under the creative commons license – commercial use (11/23/22). Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash.