Domestic Violence

questions & answers

Question: My girlfriend and I allowed her brother (a 300lb man) to crash with us after he got evicted. After about 2 1/2 weeks we realized this was a terrible idea and told him he needed to leave. He packed most of his things and left but took some things that didn't belong to him. Upon him returning for the last if his stuff, we told him he was not allowed to enter the premises and we would bring him his stuff. He got mad and tried to force his way into the house and my girlfriend fought him off. She got arrested for"hitting" him. Isn't this still a form of self defense considering he doesn't live here

Answer: Under the Arizona Criminal Code (A.R.S. Title 13), the general rule for the justification of the use of physical force in self-defense is as follows: A person may be justified in using physical force against another only when and to the extent that a reasonable person would believe that such physical force is immediately necessary to protect that person against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force (A.R.S. 13-404). The specific rule for the justification of the use of physical force in defense of one’s home is as follows: A person in lawful possession or control of premises (such as a house or apartment) may be justified in using physical force against another when and to the extent that a reasonable person would believe it immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person in or upon the premises (A.R.S. 13-407). Depending (1) on the specific circumstances that led to the physical altercation and (2) on the nature of her living arrangement with her brother (and whether his attempted entry would count as “criminal trespass”), your girlfriend might be able to claim “justification” in her “use of physical force in defense of premises.” The detailed facts involved are what would determine whether or not this justification applies. You may wish to speak with an attorney for more information and to see how your specific circumstances would apply.

QUESTIONS

  • My girlfriend and I allowed her brother (a 300lb man) to crash with us after he got evicted. After about 2 1/2 weeks we realized this was a terrible idea and told him he needed to leave. He packed most of his things and left but took some things that didn't belong to him. Upon him returning for the last if his stuff, we told him he was not allowed to enter the premises and we would bring him his stuff. He got mad and tried to force his way into the house and my girlfriend fought him off. She got arrested for"hitting" him. Isn't this still a form of self defense considering he doesn't live here

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  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
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