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YOUR DEFENSE AT TRIAL WILL DEPEND ON WHAT YOU ARE CHARGED WITH AND THE SPECIFIC FACTS OF YOUR CASE.  SOME POTENTIAL DEFENSES ARE LISTED BELOW.  CALL US TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE AND TO LEARN WHAT SPECIFIC TYPES OF DEFENSES MAY APPLY TO YOUR SITUATION! (480) 773-7901

JUSTIFICATION DEFENSES

Justification defenses describe conduct that, if justified, does not constitute criminal or wrongful conduct.  The key to raising a justification defense is that your conduct must be objectively reasonable.

BURDEN OF PROOF.  If you present evidence of justification, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not act with justification.

UNAVAILABILITY OF JUSTIFICATION DEFENSE – A.R.S. §13-401.  Even if you are justified in threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force against another, if in doing so you recklessly injure or kill an innocent third person, the justification otherwise afforded you is unavailable in a prosecution for the reckless injury or killing of the innocent third person.

EXECUTION OF PUBLIC DUTY – A.R.S. §13-402.  Conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable when it is required or authorized by law.  This requires that: (1) a reasonable person would believe such conduct is required or authorized by the judgment or direction of a competent court or tribunal or in the lawful execution of legal process, notwithstanding lack of jurisdiction of the court or defect in the legal process; or (2) a reasonable person would believe such conduct is required or authorized to assist a peace officer in the performance of such officer’s duties, notwithstanding that the officer exceeded the officer’s legal authority.

USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE – A.R.S. §13-403.  Your use of physical force upon another person which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Discipline of Minors.  A parent or guardian and a teacher or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or incompetent person may use reasonable and appropriate physical force upon the minor or incompetent person when and to the extent reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline.
  2. Discipline of Inmates.  A superintendent or other entrusted official of a jail, prison or correctional institution may use physical force for the preservation of peace, to maintain order or discipline, or to prevent the commission of any felony or misdemeanor.
  3. Common Motor Carrier of Passengers.  A person responsible for the maintenance of order in a place where others are assembled or on a common motor carrier of passengers, or a person acting under his direction, may use physical force if and to the extent that a reasonable person would believe it necessary to maintain order, but such person may use deadly physical force only if reasonably necessary to prevent death or serious physical injury.
  4. Suicide Prevention.  A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to inflict serious physical injury upon himself may use physical force upon that person to the extent reasonably necessary to thwart the result.
  5. Emergency Care.  A duly licensed physician or a registered nurse or a person acting under his direction, or any other person who renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency occurrence, may use reasonable physical force for the purpose of administering a recognized and lawful form of treatment which is reasonably adapted to promoting the physical or mental health of the patient if:
    • The treatment is administered with the consent of the patient or, if the patient is a minor or an incompetent person, with the consent of his parent, guardian or other person entrusted with his care and supervision except as otherwise provided by law; or;
    • The treatment is administered in an emergency when the person administering such treatment reasonably believes that no one competent to consent can be consulted and that a reasonable person, wishing to safeguard the welfare of the patient, would consent.

As Provided By Law.  A person may otherwise use physical force upon another person as further provided by law.

SELF-DEFENSE – A.R.S. §13-404.  Under Arizona law, you may be justified in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force.  Your threat or use of physical force against another is, however, not justified:

  1. In response to verbal provocation alone.
  2. To resist an arrest that you know or should know is being made by a peace officer or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, whether the arrest is lawful or unlawful, unless the physical force used by the peace officer exceeds that allowed by law.
  3. If you provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force, unless:
  4. You withdraw from the encounter or clearly communicate to the other your intent to do so reasonably believing you cannot safely withdraw from the encounter; and
  5. The other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful physical force against you.

USE OF DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE – A.R.S. §13-405.  Under Arizona law, you may be justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another:  (1) If you would be justified in threatening or using physical force against another, and (2) When and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force.

DEFENSE OF OTHERS – A.R.S. §13-406.  Under Arizona law, you may be justified in threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force against another to protect a third person if: (1) under the circumstances as a reasonable person would believe them to be, you would be justified in threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force to protect yourself against the unlawful physical force or deadly physical force a reasonable person would believe is threatening the third person you seek to protect; and (2) a reasonable person would believe that your intervention is immediately necessary to protect the third person.

DEFENSE OF PREMISES – A.R.S. §13-407.  If you or your agent are in lawful possession or control of premises, you may be justified in threatening to use deadly physical force or in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent that a reasonable person would believe it immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person in or upon the premises.  However, you may only use deadly physical force in the defense of yourself or third persons as described in sections 13-405 and 13-406.

  1. “Premises” means any real property and any structure, movable or immovable, permanent or temporary, adapted for both human residence and lodging whether occupied or not.

DEFENSE OF PROPERTY – A.R.S. §13-408.  Under Arizona law, you may be justified in using physical force against another when and to the extent that a reasonable person would believe it necessary to prevent what a reasonable person would believe is an attempt or commission by the other person of theft or criminal damage involving tangible movable property under his possession or control, but you may use deadly physical force under these circumstances only as provided in sections 13-405, 13-406 and 13-411.

USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT – A.R.S. §13-409.  Under Arizona law, you may be justified in threatening or using physical force against another if in making or assisting in making an arrest or detention or in preventing or assisting in preventing the escape after arrest or detention of that other person, you use or threaten to use physical force and all of the following exist: (1) a reasonable person would believe that such force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest or detention or prevent the escape; (2) you make known the purpose of the arrest or detention or believes that it is otherwise known or cannot reasonably be made known to the person to be arrested or detained; and (3) a reasonable person would believe the arrest or detention to be lawful.

USE OF DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT – A.R.S. §13-410.

  1. You may be justified in threatening use of deadly physical force pursuant to section 13-409 only if a reasonable person effecting the arrest or preventing the escape would believe the suspect or escapee is: (a) actually resisting the discharge of a legal duty with deadly physical force or with the apparent capacity to use deadly physical force; (b) a felon who has escaped from lawful confinement; or (c) a felon who is fleeing from justice or resisting arrest with physical force.
  2. A person other than a peace officer  may be justified in using deadly physical force against another pursuant to section 13-409 only if a reasonable person effecting the arrest or preventing the escape would believe the suspect or escapee is actually resisting the discharge of a legal duty with physical force or with the apparent capacity to use deadly physical force.
  3. A peace officer may be justified in using deadly force against another pursuant to section 13-409 only when the peace officer reasonably believes that it is necessary:
  • To defend himself or a third person from what the peace officer reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.
  • To effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom the peace officer reasonably believes:
    • Has committed, attempted to commit, is committing or is attempting to commit a felony involving the use or a threatened use of a deadly weapon.
    • Is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon.
    • Through past or present conduct of the person which is known by the peace officer that the person is likely to endanger human life or inflict serious bodily injury to another unless apprehended without delay.
    • Is necessary to lawfully suppress a riot if the person or another person participating in the riot is armed with a deadly weapon.

Notwithstanding any other provision, a peace officer may be justified in threatening to use deadly physical force when and to the extent a reasonable officer believes it necessary to protect himself against another’s potential use of physical force or deadly physical force. 

USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE IN CRIME PREVENTION – A.R.S. §13-411.  You may be justified in threatening or using both physical force and deadly physical force against another if and to the extent you reasonably believe that physical force or deadly physical force is immediately necessary to prevent the other’s commission of:

  1. Arson of an occupied structure under section 13-1704;
  2. Burglary in the second or first degree under section 13-1507 or 13-1508;
  3. Kidnapping under section 13-1304;
  4. Manslaughter under section 13-1103;
  5. Second or first degree murder under section 13-1104 or 13-1105;
  6. Sexual conduct with a minor under section 13-1405;
  7. Sexual assault under section 13-1406;
  8. Child molestation under section 13-1410;
  9. Armed robbery under section 13-1904; or
  10. Aggravated assault under section 13-1204, subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2.

For purposes of the crime prevention defense, while you are attempting to prevent the commission of any of the above listed crimes, you do not have any duty to retreat before threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force and are presumed to be acting reasonably.  Moreover, to avail yourself of this defense, you are not limited by your location.  You may use this defense notwithstanding whether your use or threatened use of physical or deadly physical force occurred in your home, residence, place of business, land you own or lease, or any other place in this state where you have a right to be.

DURESS – A.R.S. §13-412.  Except for (1) offenses involving homicide or serious physical injury, or (2) if you placed yourself in a situation where it was likely you would be subjected to duress, your conduct, which would otherwise constitute an offense, is justified if a reasonable person would believe that you were compelled to engage in the proscribed conduct by the threat or use of immediate physical force against you or another which resulted or could result in serious physical injury which a reasonable person in the situation would not have resisted.

NO CIVIL LIABILITY FOR JUSTIFIED CONDUCT- A.R.S. §13-413.  You are not civilly liable for engaging in justified conduct.  

CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS: USE OF REASONABLE AND NECESSARY MEANS A.R.S. §13-414.

A correctional officer may use all reasonable and necessary means including deadly force to prevent the attempt of a prisoner sentenced to the custody of the state department of corrections to: (1) escape from custody or from a correctional facility; (2) take another person as a hostage and (3) cause serious bodily harm to another person.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – A.R.S. §13-415If there have been past acts of domestic violence against you by the victim, the state of mind of a reasonable person under sections 13-404, 13-405 and 13-406 shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person who has been a victim of those past acts of domestic violence.

SECURITY OFFICERS: USE OF REASONABLE AND NECESSARY MEANS A.R.S. §13-416.  A security officer who is employed by a private contractor may use all reasonable and necessary means, including deadly force, to prevent a prisoner in the custody of the private contractor from the following: (1) escaping from the custody of a law enforcement officer, an authorized custodial agent or a correctional facility; and (2) taking another person as a hostage or causing death or serious bodily harm to another person.

NECESSITY A.R.S. §13-417.  Except for (1) offenses involving homicide or serious physical injury, or (2) if you placed yourself in a situation where it was probable that you would have to engage in the proscribed conduct, your conduct that would otherwise constitute an offense is justified if a reasonable person was compelled to engage in the proscribed conduct and you had no reasonable alternative to avoid imminent public or private injury greater than the injury that might reasonably result from your own conduct.

USE OF FORCE IN DEFENSE OF RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE OR OCCUPIED VEHICLES A.R.S. §13-418.  This statute is sometimes referred to as the Anti-Carjacking Statute.  Notwithstanding any other justification statute, you may be justified in threatening to use or using physical force or deadly physical force against another person if you reasonably believe yourself or another person to be in imminent peril of death or serious physical injury and the person against whom the physical force or deadly physical force is threatened or used was in the process of unlawfully or forcefully entering, or had unlawfully or forcefully entered, a residential structure or occupied vehicle, or had removed or was attempting to remove another person against the other person’s will from the residential structure or occupied vehicle.

PRESUMPTION OF REASONABLENESS A.R.S. §13-419You are presumed to be acting reasonably for the purposes of sections 13-404 through 13-408 and section 13-418 if you are acting against another person who unlawfully or forcefully enters or entered your residential structure or occupied vehicle, except that the presumption does not apply if:

  1. The person against whom physical force or deadly physical force was used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the residential structure or occupied vehicle, including an owner, lessee, invitee or titleholder, and an order of protection or injunction against harassment has not been filed against that person.
  2. The person against whom the physical force or deadly physical force was used is the parent or grandparent, or has legal custody or guardianship, of a child or grandchild sought to be removed from the residential structure or occupied vehicle.
  3. The person who uses physical force or deadly physical force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the residential structure or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity.
  4. The person against whom the physical force or deadly physical force was used is a law enforcement officer who enters or attempts to enter a residential structure or occupied vehicle in the performance of official duties.

ATTORNEY FEES A.R.S. §13-420.  In a civil case only, you may obtain reasonable attorney fees, costs, compensation for lost income and all expenses incurred by you in the defense of any civil action based on conduct otherwise justified pursuant to this chapter if you prevail in the civil action.

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