Forums / Political & Legal / Arizona Castle Doctrine explained - In plain English

9 years 8 weeks ago, 11:37 AM


samD's picture

Join Date:
Aug 2008
Green Valley, Free State of Arizona, United States

Arizona Castle Doctrine explained - In plain English

May 14, 2008 - 3:13 PM

"Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion... in private self-defense."
- John Adams

From her beginning territorial days up until 1997, a person in Arizona was innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Then in 1997, through a quiet and political trick, prosecutors had the law changed in their favor so that people involved in self defense had to admit guilt before proving their own innocence by "justification," which resulted in a complex and extremely expensive legal process for the innocent.

It was a return to the Napoleonic Code, with a relatively small group of prosecutors sneaking this through our legislature without any form of public debate. It was a citizen's worst nightmare and a prosecutor's wet dream. Many of your fellow Arizonans suffered under this law, as it now made it extremely simple for prosecutors to reach a conviction.

The adaptation of the Arizona Castle Doctrine (Senate Bill 1145) reversed the laws back to be in favor of individual citizens, not prosecutors. The Castle Doctrine has 5 main points:

(1) Previously, "justification" defenses, including self-defense, were affirmative defenses. The defendant (or self-defender) had to prove them by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., proof of "more likely true than not). Under SB 1145, if the defense presents "evidence" (quantum undefined) of justification, the prosecution must disprove justification to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. This change is not limited to defense of home or car, but applies anywhere.

(2) No duty to retreat before using force to prevent certain serious offenses, including aggravated assault. Again, this applies anywhere, any place a person has a legal right to be, in the language of the law.

(3) A person is presumed to be justified in using force or deadly force if he/she reasonably believes they or another person are in imminent peril and the attacker has entered or is trying to enter a residence or occupied auto. Once again, there is no duty to retreat.

(4) A person is generally presumed to be justified in use of force if the attacker has unlawfully forced his way into residence or car or is trying to do so (with certain exceptions, such as if the person forcing in had a legal right to be in there). This means that justification is automatically presumed when a person uses physical or deadly force against an intruder. It is now the prosecutor’s job to prove there was no justification, which once again falls within our legal system’s concept of innocent until proven guilty.

(5) If the aggressor is foolish enough to sue, and the defender wins, the defender recovers attorney fees and lost income (presumably, lost while at the courthouse). This not limited to the home invasion situation.

Why is the Castle Doctrine necessary?

The Castle Doctrine comes from the idea that "A man's home is his castle", as stated in English Common Law. It establishes that an individual has an undeniable right to use any type of physical force against an attacker or intruder.

The Castle Doctrine established redundancy is to further defend the corresponding law and its original intent. Most importantly, it stops self-important fools like the 9th Circuit Court and biased judges from trying to legislate from the bench.

9 years 8 weeks ago, 12:29 PM

shadow walker

shadow walker's picture

Lieutenant Colonel
Join Date:
Dec 2008
rimrock, Az
castle law

The castle law is a lot older than the old west. If you read in the modern language bible you will find in Exodus 22:2 When a burglar is caught breaking in ,and is fatally beaten there shall be no charge of manslaughter. In Luke 22: 35-36, it states to sell your cloak and buy a sword. So if you look back a person has always had the right to defend his home but those put into public office want to take those rights away. I am not a bible thumper but there are many who did not know that the castle law was in the bible. Jon Adams and Thomas Jefferson, according to history disagreed on many things but both knew that laws against armed selfdefence only protects the criminals.....Be safe Stay alert

9 years 8 weeks ago, 2:12 PM


Reaper308's picture

Secretary of Defense
Join Date:
Jun 2008
Airstrip One, Oceania

some of us live in AZ (and other states which have adopted this doctrine) but this should really be a federally supported law! If you enter my home, and intend on causing harm to me or my loved ones, I should NOT have to prove myself innocent for protecting my families lives.

"Proelium Comminus Auctoritate" "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash."
9 years 8 weeks ago, 4:16 PM


Shakleford's picture

Join Date:
Feb 2009
Ft. Worth, Texas, United States
If you are

in my house, I don't care what your intentions are..... YOU ARE SCREWED!!

"Two flags fly above my land that really sum up how I feel. One is the colors that fly high and proud the red the white the blue.The other ones got a rattlesnake with a simple statement made, Don’t Tread On Me is what it says"
9 years 7 weeks ago, 5:16 AM


runawaygun762's picture

Vice President
Join Date:
Nov 2008
Richland, MO, United States
In AZ, deadly

force is also authorized to prevent arson of an occupied structure. I'm sure it's authorized elsewhere, but my CCW class was the first time I'd heard of this.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.

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