Can I use deadly force to protect myself or others from imminent death or severe harm from a driver?

If a driver in a car is trying to use their car as a deadly weapon to kill or injure a pedestrian or bicyclist may I use deadly force to stop or deter the driver of the vehicle?

Asked on November 19, 2018 under Criminal Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Legally, yes: deadly force may be used to protect yourself or another from a credible imminent threat of death, such as from an attack using a deadly instrumentality or weapon--any deadly attack, including by car. Practically, it may be very difficult to convince the authorites (or a jury, if you are charged) that the other driver was not merely driving negligently or recklessly, but was actually intentionally trying to use their car as a deadly weapon; that is, this may be a very difficult defense to prevail on.

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