- For Attorneys
A person is justified in using physical force upon another person to defend himself or herself or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and the person may use a degree of force that he or she reasonably believes to be necessary.However, the person may not use deadly physical force except as provided in section 5-2-607. A person is not justified in using physical force upon another person with the purpose to cause physical injury or death to the other person or if the person provokes the use of unlawful physical force by the other person. A person's use of physical force upon another person is justifiable if the person in good faith withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person his or her purpose to withdraw from the encounter; and the other person continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful physical force; or the physical force involved is the product of a combat by agreement not authorized by law. Section 5-2-607 of the Arkansas Code provides that a person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if the person reasonably believes: that the other person is committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence; is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force; or is imminently endangering the person's life or imminently about to victimize the person from the continuation of a pattern of domestic abuse. A person may not use deadly physical force in self-defense if he or she knows that he or she can avoid the necessity of using deadly physical force with complete safety by retreating. However, a person is not required to retreat if the person is: in the person's dwelling and was not the original aggressor; or a law enforcement officer or a person assisting at the direction of a law enforcement officer; or by surrendering possession of property to a person claiming a lawful right to possession of the property.