Hot Springs National Park, AR asked in Criminal Law for Arkansas

Q: Is it legal in Arkansas to use deadly force to protect others?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Stewart Whaley
Stewart Whaley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • North Little Rock, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: In VERY rare circumstances and it should be avoided if possible. See Arkansas Code § 5-2-606. Use of physical force in defense of a person and § 5-2-607. Use of deadly physical force in defense of a person.

Despite your interpretation of those statutes, you should remember to err on the side of "do not use deadly force" and discuss any specific facts or occurrence with a criminal defense attorney.

James E Hensley Jr and Tim Akpinar agree with this answer

James E Hensley Jr
James E Hensley Jr
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Conway, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: It is legal to use deadly force to protect others but that option is not absolute. Each case is different. Defending others with lethal force will be highly scrutinized. Even if you are acquitted there could be a civil case which might ruin you financially. I'm assuming you are asking for general knowledge and not planning on hurting anyone. If you are considering using lethal force to harm someone you believe is committing Domestic Battery, you will go to jail for a long time. You can't kill someone because a victim does not seek help. Don't go looking for trouble.

Here is the statute:

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.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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