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March 2013 Archives

How to Claim Self-Defense Under Arizona Law

If you are charged with assault or battery in Arizona, you may be able to claim self-defense.

Generally, in Arizona, a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when the force is necessary to protect himself against the other person's unlawful use of force.

Keep in mind that the use of force must be reasonable, and the belief that the other person will strike you also must be reasonable. So you can't simply strike a person if you weren't really being threatened or in a dangerous situation in the first place.

Expunge Your Conviction, Clean Up Your Record

A criminal record isn't exactly a hot accessory, but you don't have to carry it around with you forever. Or at least, you don't have to if you can expunge your prior convictions.

Except that Arizona doesn't call it expungement. Under state law it's known as setting aside a conviction. But the effect is the same: Your record is cleared. That makes certain things easier, like getting a job or an apartment.

If you can clear your record, obviously you want to do it. But not everyone can; it depends on what crime was committed.

Defining Homicide: The Felony Murder Rule

Homicide laws make it illegal to kill another human being in almost every circumstance, whether it's intentional, reckless, or even unintended. The crimes associated with that are murder, manslaughter, and felony murder respectively.

While the first two categories are much more well known, felony murder is the weird cousin that everyone forgets about. But in Arizona it's still against the law.

Originally an uncodified part of common law (i.e., enforced by courts, not via legislation), Arizona law now classifies felony murder as a form of first-degree murder. But what is it exactly?