The best defense to murder or assault is typically self-defense.  Self-defense can occur in a number of circumstances, and is easily considered the best defense to make, especially when evidence exists that proves the accused committed the offense, such as the accused’s own admittance.  An experienced Phoenix, AZ self defense attorney can help makes sense of your situation.

Self-Defense to Assault & Murder

Self-defense can only be used as a defense in narrowly tailored circumstances.  Self-defense can be raised as a defense to murder if you yourself were threatened with murder from facts easily demonstrated.  For example, if the victim threatened you with a deadly weapon in plain sight and you acted on his threats, then your self-defense can be seen to be justified.  However, if the victim only made verbal threats and you heightened this by producing a deadly weapon, a court will typically not allow this level of self-defense.  Self-defense in regards to aggravated assault works the same way as self-defense to murder charges, in that the defendant must believe he is in imminent danger from attack.

However, it is important to keep in mind that self-defense cannot be claimed if you, the accused, started the attack, unless:

  • You withdrew from the situation and clearly communicated this to the other person; and
  • The other person continues or attempts physical force against you

Additionally, self-defense cannot be used as a defense if the threat happened days or even hours ago.  The threat must be immediate.

Self-Defense & the “Stand Your Ground” Law in Arizona

Self-defense has become a widely discussed topic in the news after the media has focused on the “stand your ground” laws across the nation.  Arizona has a similar rule for intruders.  Physical force or deadly physical force is justified if you are in your home and believe this force is necessary to prevent the following:

  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Second or first degree murder
  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sex Crimes
  • Child molestation
  • Armed robbery
  • Aggravated assault

Furthermore, Arizona does not require a person to retreat before using physical force or deadly physical force.  This type of force is justified if the person believes a crime is imminent or actual commission of the crime has occurred.  This is justified on a person’s home, residence, place of business, or land the person owns or leases.

Dwane Cates | Phoenix Self-Defense Attorney

Dwane Cates is a well-experienced Phoenix self defense attorney and is frequently called upon for commentary on recent court cases due to his extensive knowledge of the criminal court system.  Self-defense is one of the best defenses you can make in any case, and it can be the difference between years in prison and a clean record.

Contact our offices today for your initial free consultation where Dwane Cates will go through the intricacies of your case and determine the best route to take in its defense.


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