Murder is one of the most serious crimes for which you can be convicted. However, some defendants may be able to argue that they acted purely out of self-defense. Arizona is one of 20 states with a Stand Your Ground law. This law justifies the use of deadly physical force in certain situations if you are in a place where you're allowed to be and you're not engaged in an illegal act.
When it comes to the Stand Your Ground law, you actually have the right to use potentially deadly force (such as firing a gun at someone) even if your life is not in immediate danger. For example, the use of deadly force is allowed to stop certain crimes from occurring, such as:
- Manslaughter, second-degree murder or first-degree murder
- Armed robbery, second-degree burglary or first-degree burglary
- Sexual assault
- Child molestation
- Aggravated assault
- Arson of an occupied building
The law does not justify the use of deadly force when confronted by verbal provocation or if you are the aggressor. If you are being tried for murder and you claim self-defense, then the burden of proof is on the prosecution. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you weren't justified to act with the use of physical or deadly force.
The Stand Your Ground law is taken seriously in Arizona, as evidenced by the recent overturning of a murder conviction of a man who claimed he killed two men out of self-defense. The judge refused to allow the jurors to consider the claim of self-defense because of a third person – a bystander – shot on the scene. The conviction was overturned because it was judged that fear for his safety justified his actions.
If you're in need of a criminal defense attorney, contact Garcia Law PLLC today. We know your rights and understand your unique situation.