Arizona Laws on Shooting Trespassers
Having your home broken into and your property put at risk is your worst nightmare as a home owner. You have a right to feel safe and secure within your own home, but can you use deadly force if you experience an invasion? If you’re not careful, you could end up being the one seeking an Arizona criminal defense attorney.
Although trespassing and breaking and entering are illegal, the property owner isn’t necessarily allowed to harm the criminal without facing bodily harm. As an average citizen, it can be difficult to gauge how much of a threat a home invader or trespasser is until it’s too late. Arizona law makes for a very fine balancing act to protect yourself in these cases.
To help you navigate the complexities of self-defense and trespassers, here’s a look at what you should do if you encounter this sort of situation. Knowing your rights is important, especially if you have a gun in your home for self-defense. You should know under what circumstances you can use it and what sort of scrutiny you could face.
Defining threats to bodily harm
You may only use force to defend yourself in the case of a trespasser. Even once permitted to use force, you are only supposed to use as much force as it takes to eliminate the threat. Translated this means that if someone is hitting you, you can only use as much force as needed to make them stop hitting you.
It’s a grey line because rendering them momentarily unable to hit you can mean that they become revived and are able to attack again. You would then be at risk of them coming back to harm you further.
Because this is such a grey area and difficult to decipher, it’s best to hire an attorney to protect you if you’ve encountered a trespasser. It is your right to protect yourself and your property within your home. Ensure those rights are protected by getting a good attorney to defend your case and avoid being charged as a criminal for your self-defense actions.
When assessing whether or not you acted accordingly, the courts will take a look at the situation and if reasonable fear was appropriate. This means that given the circumstances, you had reason to be afraid for the wellbeing of yourself or those around you.
Reasonable fear is assessed based on what a “reasonable man” would experience if put in the same scenario as what you faced.
In some cases, the fear is deemed unreasonable according to the standard of what others might experience. This means there is imperfect self-defense. An experienced attorney can then negotiate an extremely low sentence for you given the situation you were put in by the trespasser.
Hiring an Arizona criminal defense attorney in self-defense cases
You should not undergo questioning until you have contacted your attorney. You may inform the police that respond to the scene that you are intending to wait to answer questions until your attorney is present.
If you have already undergone initial questioning, it is not too late to hire an attorney to help with the rest of your case. Just be sure that you tell your attorney about your testimony to police. This will help your attorney in developing next steps for your case.
You should include all important details of your case at your first consultation with an attorney. Bring any documentation related to the incident, including gun permits, police reports, medical reports of any injuries you sustained. These details will help your attorney formulate your case to provide the best defense possible.
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