In today’s video Chuck talks about using deadly force outside of the home to protect yourself or your family.
This is a continuation of my previous video on legal advice relative to protecting your home with deadly force.
Now, let’s take this one step further: you’re protecting your car or you are out on the street, you’re protecting yourself, or maybe your family is with you.
The general rule is you protect yourself with deadly force against deadly force. In other words you don’t bring a knife to a fist fight. If you’re going to get into a fist fight, you don’t pull out a gun, even if you can articulate that you are in fear for your life or your safety.
Obviously you would be in fear for your physical safety or your well being would be in jeopardy in any kind of fight but that doesn’t rise to the level of being able to pull a gun out and I would even – I’m arguing both sides of this – I would even argue that if the guy is three hundred pounds and six-foot-seven and you are five-foot-four and a hundred and ten pounds, obviously the odds of you getting the hell beat out of you are pretty good in a fist fight, but I wouldn’t be comfortable in telling you “Go ahead and pull out your gun and defend yourself.”
Now the threat and use of physical force could be an aggravated assault charge against you, but every single case is different.
There are some exceptions. In the defense of yourself or others if any one of these crimes are being committed, you can use deadly force; Arson of an occupied structure, burglary of the first and second degree of an occupied structure, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder (a given), sexual assault (a given), Armed Robbery (well if he’s armed, you can use deadly force), and aggravated assault.
So, the first rule of thumb is this happens every day: road rage. A guy pulls a gun on somebody he is arguing with. So now everything has escalated. Somebody pulls a gun on you in traffic and I would argue, Arizona does not have the obligation for you to retreat, you don’t have to, you can stand your ground is the law. But I still would be very hesitant if a guy pointed a gun at me in traffic, to just pull out my gun and start shooting at him. The reason being is, one: if you miss and you hit somebody that is innocent, some bystander, you are going to get charged with either man-slaughter or murder. So you want to be sure of what your target is, if that is the situation and know that you can’t simply just drive away from the situation.
Personally I would just drive away from the situation unless I was outside of my vehicle, or I’m walking down the street and some guy pulls a gun on me, then I’m going to pull a gun out and presumably shoot him if he is trying to attack my family or myself. And in that situation it would be a lot harder to just drive away because you are not in your car.
My point is, I’m very conservative in the use of weapons because I’ve seen people that have used them in defense of themselves, and I thought Justified, they were righteous in doing what they did. They spent a long time in jail waiting for a prosecutor to decide “well he was justified” and they cut him loose. If you shoot somebody or if you kill somebody your bond is going to be so high and it may be a cash only bond that you can’t afford to get out of jail. So while you’re working your way through the system with your attorney you could sit in jail for six months or a year.
This has happened to me with a client that was justified in shooting a man that was beating another man to death in Tempe. This was years ago, and my client shot this fellow in the stomach a couple of times when the guy threatened him saying “Do you want some of this, I can do this to you too.” and there were some pretty nasty names being used – It was probably racially motivated – but none the less my client shot this other fellow, spent 8 months in jail because the bond was so high, and eventually the State of Arizona decided that he was justified in doing that and they cut him lose but those are 8 months that he could never get back.
So again, just because you are in the right and everybody around you, your family, your attorney, think you’re in the right for pulling out a gun and using it, there is always the possibility that the State of Arizona or the police through the State of Arizona, they don’t think that’s correct. You may end up in a trial situation. It doesn’t mean you won’t win a trial, but you’ve lost a huge part of your life and what it does to you emotionally. Or sitting in jail while you can’t work and support your family. You think really hard in that situation. Don’t be so ready to pull your gun out and use it.
But if somebody is pulling a gun out and pointing it at you and you firmly believe that you are in fear for your life, then you do what you have to do, and that is the way that the law is in Arizona.
If you have used a gun to stop someone from committing a serious crime against you or someone else and are now facing charges for using deadly force you should contact us today. We have experience working with many cases involving using deadly force outside of the home.