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Is it Ever Legal to Shoot a Trespasser?

Friday / August 19, 2016

Property owners, generally, cannot use deadly force to protect their property, but they might be able to shoot at trespassers in self-defense if they fear great bodily harm or death. This is a legal gamble and you could potentially be held liable civilly and/or criminally if your efforts cross the line.  Seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Tempe criminal defense attorney is definitely recommended in cases such as this.

In Arizona, you are justified in threatening or using physical force to defend yourself against another person to the extent that a reasonable person would believe it is immediately necessary for protection. For example, if someone is punching you, you may use just enough physical force to stop them from punching you, but you can’t punch them until they fall to the ground and then start kicking them.

You are also justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another if a reasonable person would believe that deadly force is immediately necessary for protection. For example, if someone is threatening you with a knife or gun, you may use a level of physical force which may kill them in order to stop them from harming you.

Police and prosecutors look at many factors when deciding whether or not the use of deadly force is justified in a self-defense trespassing situation.  If a reasonable person would believe that the use of deadly force was necessary for protection, then it would be justified.  For example, if a lone 140-pound woman is being physically attacked by a 250-pound unarmed man, the woman may be justified in using deadly force to defend herself.

 

Tempe Criminal Defense Attorney Kyle T. Green

If you are facing criminal charges, I can provide you with experienced, competent, trustworthy, and aggressive representation. Call 480-331-7568 to schedule a free, initial consultation to discuss your situation in a free case review.

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