About Arizona’s Castle Doctrine (Stand Your Ground Laws)

James Palestini on Fox 10 - Jan 2024

In case you missed my FOX 10 interview this morning, there have been quite a few recent thwarted home invasions in the valley. Informally known or referred to as “stand your ground” incidents, the use of deadly force to repel someone who is trying to enter your home or business is actually quite legal. Let’s take you through the ins and outs of Arizona’s Castle Doctrine so you know your rights and can make an informed decision if you find yourself on the wrong end of an invasive situation.

Arizona’s Castle Doctrine, Arizona Revised Statute 13-411(D), allows any resident of a home, business, or place that one is legally allowed to be to authorize the use of reasonable and/or deadly force to protect themselves from harm from an intruder of any kind. This seems like a very broad definition, one that you might think has specific limits or qualifications hidden somewhere in the wording of the statute, but it’s almost as clear as it’s written: if you are made to feel unsafe somewhere that you otherwise should not be made to feel that way, your use of force is legally permissible.

Specifically, the statute states that one must be at immediate threat or in belief of the immediate threat of burglary, kidnapping, manslaughter, assault, or sexual assault. From there, the statute maintains that anyone using force “reasonably believes” they are at the threat of harm, and that there is no duty on the behalf of the force-user to retreat or warn the potential assailant. This is where the Castle Doctrine invokes the “Stand Your Ground” Law, Arizona Revised Statute 13-405. The “Stand your Ground” law permits you to use force without retreat to defend yourself in a situation where you are reasonably sure that you are a victim or potential victim of the aforementioned crimes, and that your use of force can be deadly in nature if your self-defense requires it. Under the Stand Your Ground law in Arizona, the only prerequisite is that you are not the aggressor, and that you didn’t provoke or escalate the situation or use deadly force in self-defense while committing a crime yourself.

The key to all of this is being “reasonable.” If you believe you are about to become the victim of a crime and that you are in a location you have the legal right to be, Arizona law protects your right to defend yourself and your space. These laws don’t offer blanket immunity though. For example, in some situation you could face trial for manslaughter if you provoked the situation, you conspired to harm the other person prior and put yourself into a situation to make that a reality, or that you acted with “reckless” abandon.

There are all sorts of urban legends in Arizona about your use of self-defense, but the reality remains this: if you feel credibly threatened, you have the right to defend yourself and your space to the extent necessary to end said threat. If you find yourself in need of representation for your self-defense case, call us at Palestini Law today, where we’ll stand our ground to defend your right to stand yours.

JAMES P. PALESTINI

Originally from Toronto, Canada, James Palestini relocated to Arizona where he received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies with a minor in Criminology from Arizona State University. James then attended law school at Phoenix School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctorate degree. While pursuing his doctorate, James interned at a criminal defense firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. James handled a multitude of criminal cases there, including felony, misdemeanor and criminal traffic matters.