In Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia County, people often find themselves in situations where their health and safety are put in jeopardy by other individual(s). In situations such as these, individuals normally have the right to use self defense in order to prevent bodily harm to their person. It is important to note however, that there are times where different levels of force can justifiably be used in order to prevent the individual from being harmed. All citizens in Pennsylvania need to be aware of when and how much force they can use when defending their lives or the lives of another. In some situations people use self-defense in an unlawful way and can potentially face criminal penalties. Having an experienced attorney is essential if any person has been charged with a crime while claiming self-defense.
Self Defense: When can it be Used?
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an individual has the right to use force against certain actions perpetuated by another individual(s). Pennsylvania has what is called a “stand your ground law” which means that an individual has no “duty to retreat” if they are under threat from another person(s).
Moreover, The PA statue for self defense states that use of force is “justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion”.
The use of deadly force can only be justified under certain extreme conditions that the victim finds themselves in. Section 505 B of the PA code states that the use of deadly force is justified when the individual believes that they or their loved ones are in danger of
- Serious Bodily Injury
- Sexual intercourse compelled by force
- An individual entering the home without permission with ill intent
When Self-Defense CANNOT be used
Self-defense cannot be used in ALL situations that involves a physical altercation or threat between two parties. An individual may not be able to claim self defense if they were the initial aggressor. For example, if person A goes up to person B in a bar and punches him in the face and person B strikes back with the same type of punch, person A will be unable to claim self defense because he started the fight. Person A would however be able to claim self defense if he ceased attacking, let the person know he ceased attacking, and was then hit by person B
Another situation where self defense cannot be used is when the person that is attacked, uses disproportionate force to fend off the aggressor. For example, from our first hypo, if person B was shoved by person A and person B pulls out a gun and shoots person A, then person B could NOT claim self defense.
From both scenarios, it is important to emphasize that self-defense or the amount thereof, cannot be used in all situations. and at times the individual claiming self defense, may face criminal penalties.
A self defense claim can be difficult to use in many situations. If an individual is unsuccessful in their self defense claim, they could face very serious crimes such as
If you were charged with a crime but believe that you were acting in self-defense, The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is ready to help through this process. Our experienced staff of attorneys will examine all the facts of your case thoroughly and will ensure that you receive the best outcome possible. Contact our office for a free consultation, your future is our priority!