When you think of a Castle you might think of Kings and Queens and Knights protecting the fortress from intruders or enemies of the royal families. But I think of everyday Americans and the structures which they live in. Your home is your castle, and you protect your home, the property around it and the individuals that live within. This brings me to what many refer to as the Castle Doctrine. The term “Castle Doctrine” itself is attributed to Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney General of England in 1604 who stated in Semayne’s Case (1604) that “For a man’s house is his castle, and each man’s home is his safest refuge.”
Now, crossing the pond into the United States and more specifically Arizona, our state does not have specific castle doctrine laws; however, Arizona does permit physical force, and deadly force when reasonable and immediately necessary to prevent serious crimes, including murder, burglary in the first and second degree…. Thus, the use of physical force against a home intruder is almost always permissible. Your physical force can elevate to deadly physical force at the time that you feel your life or the life of another is at risk. Deadly force is justified in the defense of other serious crimes such as the threat of great bodily harm, rape, or kidnapping. ARS 13-408, 13-411.
Arizona Revised Statue 13-404 which states “that a person is 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.”
ARS 13-405 states:
A. A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another:
- If such person would be justified in threatening or using physical force against the other under section 13-404, and
- 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.
B. A person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force pursuant to this section if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.
When looking at Arizona specific laws, we have the same rights as a state with a Castle Doctrine Law which allows us to protect our home and property; we do not have a duty to retreat clause within our laws. It is very important to understand your states specific laws so you do not place yourself in a situation where you have reversed the roles and have become the one charged with a crime.
I teach firearms instruction to beginner shooters and to very advanced seasoned shooters and I constantly get questions regarding Arizona specific laws. Everyone should familiarize themselves with the self-defense related laws in their state. The mentality that I see a lot of is “I’ll do whatever it takes to protect mine”. That’s all fine and good but educate yourself so you can complete your mission without getting criminal charges in the process.
I recommend if you have firearms in your home or carry on your person that you take an Arizona Concealed Carry (CCW) class. These classes are highly informative regarding the laws of self-defense. This training also provides the basics of defending your life or the life of another with a firearm. In addition, you will learn the Arizona & Federal laws, Situational Awareness, Home Protection & so much more.
Protecting yourself and the ones you love should not rely on what type of weapon or firearm you own, or the color martial art belt you hold, it also rests on the knowledge you have. Educate, train & prepare yourself so you can understand the actions you take are justified by your local laws.
Never Stop Training!!!!
Disclaimer: I am by no means giving you legal advice with the above information. For reference go to:
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Oz Johnson/Lead Instructor, NRA Certified