Legal Minute

Defending Yourself Under State Law

Springdale, Ark( KNWA ) - Earlier this week a Springdale tenant shot and killed a man who broke into his apartment. 
So what should you do if you find yourself in that same scenario?
According to Arkansas code title 5 under criminal offenses , use of deadly physical force in defense of a person is your right if you feel your life is in danger. 

Arkansas law states that a person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if the one  reasonably believes that the other person is:
    1 - committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence;
    2 - using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force;  or
    3 - imminently endangering the person's life or  about to victimize the person. 

Police and self defense professionals both say that if you can not flee from a situation then you have the right to defend yourself. 
" In the home or anywhere else, you have to fear for your life, either severe bodily injury or death to use deadly force," said Lt. Paul Pillaro  Lowell Police.

Marty Cale, owner of Krav Maga self defense school teaches his students how to deal with these types of situations. 
"If they are kicking down your door coming into your house you are 100 percent in your legal right and you are justified to defend yourself even with deadly force," Cale Said 

Authorities advise to retreat if you can, but there are many circumstances outlined in the law for standing your ground. You can see the full law for criminal offenses and deadly force below: 

5-2-607. Use of deadly physical force in defense of a person.

(a) A person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if the person reasonably believes that the other person is:

(1) Committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence;

(2) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force; or

(3) Imminently endangering the person's life or imminently about to victimize the person as described in 9-15-103 from the continuation of a pattern of domestic abuse.

(b) A person may not use deadly physical force in self-defense if the person knows that he or she can avoid the necessity of using deadly physical force with complete safety:

(1) (A) By retreating.

(B) However, a person is not required to retreat if the person is:

(i) In the person's dwelling or on the curtilage surrounding the person's dwelling and was not the original aggressor; or

(ii) A law enforcement officer or a person assisting at the direction of a law enforcement officer; or

(2) By surrendering possession of property to a person claiming a lawful right to possession of the property.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) "Curtilage" means the land adjoining a dwelling that is convenient for residential purposes and habitually used for residential purposes, but not necessarily enclosed, and includes an outbuilding that is directly and intimately connected with the dwelling and in close proximity to the dwelling; and

(2) "Domestic abuse" means:

(A) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault between family or household members; or

(B) Any sexual conduct between family or household members, whether minors or adults, that constitutes a crime under the laws of this state.


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