Deadly Physical Force Justification in AZ.

When are you justified in using deadly force?

There is a lot at stake when using deadly force. After all, your entire life is on the line! There is however much more to using a firearm in self-defense then just the “could you”. We cover some of those in our other posts.

Let’s dive in!

“13-405. Justification; use of deadly physical force
A. A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another:
1. If such person would be justified in threatening or using physical force against the other under section 13-404, 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.”

(ARS 13-405, emphisis added)

Paragraph 1 basically says that in order to be eligible to use this section as a defense, you must also fulfill the elements of ARS 13-404 which we describe in our previous post here.

So under the law we are required to:

  1. Act reasonably, and
  2. Only use deadly physical force when it is immediately necessary

We discussed the reasonable person element in this earlier post. But essentially, we must provide evidence supporting the elements of deadly force; that the attacker had the ability and opportunity to place us in imminent jeopardy of death or serious physical harm and that we had precluded all lesser forms of force as ineffective or unavailable using our use of force continuum.

The Jury is who ultimately decides if one’s actions were reasonable, lawful and moral.  In the Jury instructions the court also specifies that the justification afforded by ARS 13-405 is only available if the defendant used no more force than would have appeared necessary to a reasonable person in the situation. (AZ RAJI 4th 4.05)

The use of deadly physical force in Arizona is reserved exclusively to defend one’s own life, or the life of an innocent third party, never to defend property or stuff. We cover Arizona’s “Castle Doctrine” in more depth here.

Deadly physical force is a last option, only to be considered to stop a threat when all other options have failed or are plainly unavailable. Once used, deadly physical force can’t be taken back or undone.

*This is provided as a Legal Information Resource and should not be treated as legal advice.