1540 E. Maryland Ave., Suite 100B
Phoenix, AZ 85014

The Molina Law Group PLLC

Call For Your 30 Min Case Evaluation

(602) 718-1249

The Molina Law Group PLLC

Will Smith and the slap heard ’round the world – Defense of his wife or assault? An Arizona Criminal Lawyer’s breakdown.

  • Published: April 18, 2022

When it comes to defending the ones we love, many of us will do whatever it takes to protect them, but what are your legal options when defending others?

This is a question that many have been debating since the Will Smith and Chris Rock altercation at the 94th Oscars Ceremony. Some would argue that Will Smith had the right to defend his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, due to Rock’s joke about her appearance. Will Smith even suggested as much, calling himself “a fierce defender of his family.” Admitting that sometimes, “love will make you do crazy things.”

Were his actions legally justified in response to Chris Rock’s jokes that hurt his wife’s feelings? Unfortunately, the Fresh Prince has no legal ground to stand on here:

Arizona law provides:

“A person is justified in…using physical force…against another to protect a third person…to protect… against the unlawful physical force…a reasonable person would believe is threatening the third person he seeks to protect.”

This is known as Defense of Others(pretty much self defense but you are protecting another person). This powerful defense finds that even if you cause someone harm, that your conduct is still justified in the eyes of the law because you only did so to protect someone you care for. However, you must be protecting them from a physical attack. Here, that means the “Hitch” star did NOT have the right to slap Chris Rock for his unfortunate joke made at the expense of his wife.

As a result, Will Smith’s conduct would easily fall under Arizona’s Assault Statute, subjecting himself to criminal liability.

Self-defense and defense of others are not always clear-cut matters. If you were arrested for a crime, call the Molina Law Group for an Arizona Criminal Lawyer who will provide a strong defense.

Call us at 602-718-1249 or visit our website for your free consultation. We are available 24/7. We handle criminal matters in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, and all across the State of Arizona.

Edwin A. Molina III

The Molina Law Group has expertise in two
areas of law; Criminal Defense and Personal
Injury - Call Us Now - (602) 718-1249