You certainly never hope to find yourself in a physical altercation with another person; at the same time, however, you recognize that there are situations where a potential threat to your own personal safety (or that of your loved ones) might compel you to act.
Many have come to us here at Decker Bradburn, Attorneys at Law following such a scenario concerned that authorities may view their actions to be criminal, If you share the same concerns due to your own defensive conduct, then a review of Pennsylvania’s self-defense laws may help you in disputing any potential criminal accusations.
Identifying lawful self-defense scenarios
There are two distinct philosophies in the legal world that address situations where you can lawfully react with force. The first is the “Stand Your Ground” principle, which basically absolves you of the duty to retreat from any situation in which any reasonable person might feel a threat to their personal safety. The other principle limits the use of defensive force to scenarios involving locations where you are legally entitled to be, such as:
- Your home
- Your place of business
- Your vehicle
- Any dwelling in which you have lawful entry rights (e.g. a hotel room)
Legal professionals refer to this theory as “the Castle Doctrine.”
Pennsylvania’s self-defense statute
Section 505 of Pennsylvania’s Crimes and Offenses Code shows that the state adheres to the Castle Doctrine. Indeed, the law states that you can use force (even deadly force) if you believe it necessary to prevent another from breaking into (or attempting to remove you or a loved one from) your home or vehicle.
You can discover more information on answering to accusations of violent criminal activity by continuing to browse through our site.