In Pennsylvania, it is legal to use physical or even deadly force against someone if you have reason to believe they are causing an immediate threat to you or someone else. These “Stand Your Ground” laws can be controversial and easily misunderstood. Understanding what is and is not permitted under “Stand Your Ground” is critical to protect yourself and others from criminal charges and deadly situations.
If you have been charged with a gun crime in Pennsylvania, it is essential to contact a trusted and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you are able. Your attorney will help you navigate Pennsylvania’s legal system and ensure your rights are protected.
What Is Permitted under “Stand Your Ground” in Pennsylvania?
If a person is not committing a crime and is being attacked in a place they have a right to be, such as their home or a public place, they are legally allowed to defend themselves with lethal force. Additionally, you have no duty to retreat to avoid violence. This is what is known as the Castle Doctrine. You must meet all of the following criteria to use deadly force under the Castle Doctrine legally:
- You have a right to be where you were attacked
- You believe it is immediately necessary to use force to protect yourself or someone else from bodily harm or death
- The attacker is using or shows a firearm or other lethal weapon
As long as you meet the above criteria, your use of deadly force is protected by law as self-defense. A lawyer can help you determine if you meet these requirements and if “Stand Your Ground” is a valid defense for your case.
The Limits to Pennsylvania’s “Stand Your Ground” Laws
If the attacker does not have a firearm or other deadly weapon, you are legally required to retreat before exerting deadly force. However, this law, among others, is open to jury interpretation depending on the circumstances. For example, if your attacker prevented your retreat, you could still be protected under “Stand Your Ground.”
You must also believe that there is an immediate threat to your or another’s safety. If the attacker tries to flee the scene, using force is no longer immediately necessary or justified. If you chase someone down to use deadly force, “Stand Your Ground” does not apply. Additionally, you must not be in the process of committing a crime when you are attacked or exerting lethal force.
Contact the Trusted Pennsylvania Self Defense Attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, & Gifford, P.C.
If you have exerted deadly force to defend yourself or someone else, it is essential to partner with a highly-qualified legal team. The skilled attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, & Gifford P.C. have over 65 years of experience in Pennsylvania’s legal system. Our legal team is dedicated to working tirelessly to prove their clients’ innocence and protecting their rights. Call our office at (215) 822-7575 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our award-winning legal team.