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September 27, 2013

Standing Your Ground

Filed under: Arizona Criminal Law — Josh Blumenreich @ 8:00 am

Ijusticen the United States, 31 states already have Stand Your Ground Laws, or justification laws, in place. There are many people who get tried in courts for claiming self-defense. Many of these people are convicted and put into the prison system because the self-defense claim was follow with charges of assault or murder. But what if the intruder was threatening your life or your family and you had no means of retreating? Well the Stand Your Ground law states that a person can justifiably use force in self-defense if there is reason to believe that there is an unlawful threat.

When a defendant pleads “not guilty” with a “justification” defense, they are basically affirming that they used physical or deadly force against another person for a justifiable reason described under A.R.S § 13 – 411; and thus, their actions don’t require a criminal defense. This force must be immediately necessary to prevent unlawful acts against another person or their property; these acts include:

  • Arson of an occupied structure
  • Burglary in the second or first degree
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder in the second or first degree
  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual assault
  • Child molestation
  • Armed Robbery
  • Aggravated assault

There are many cases where this law helps many law abiding citizens but there are also controversies whether this law does more harm than good however.  The Stand Your Ground law has become more widely known with the shooting of Trayvon Martin that occurred in Florida. Another case that occurred in Arizona was just last year when a mentally disabled man was shot. Even though the shooter had claimed that he was defending himself and his pregnant wife, there was no weapon or evidence of immediate threat.

If you find yourself facing criminal charges after you’ve been put into a situation of self-defense where you had reasonable belief that a threat would be committed against you or your property and had no means of retreating, the state prosecution must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you didn’t act with justification. If you need legal representation, contact The Blumenreich Law Firm today at (602) 252-2570 for a free initial consultation. Josh Blumenreich is prepared to represent you.