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Violence is never a recommended way to solve a problem, but it can be the only way out of a dangerous situation under Pennsylvania law. Nearly every jurisdiction recognizes a person’s right to self-defense, while the Keystone State also features a clause that can keep criminal charges away from certain people who felt the need to use violence.

What are the laws that apply to self-defense and property defense?

Pennsylvania recognizes that a person may defend himself or herself, as well as nearby people, if he or she has a reasonable belief that a deadly or sexual assault is about to occur. Another principle is known as the Castle Doctrine, which states self-defense in a person’s own home, workplace or vehicle is also reasonable if a threat of death or serious injury is perceived.

Is this a reasonable legal defense for violent actions?

An ongoing case in Fayette County involves a man who was allegedly standing next to his truck while urinating when another man approached from behind. The man then fatally shot the approaching person, then directed the county sheriff to the scene and his weapon as well as the permit for it. His attorney contends that the Castle Doctrine applies to his actions.

How effective is the Castle Doctrine as a legal defense?

A judge has yet to rule on the applicability of the Castle Doctrine to this case, but it has been used before as a defense in court or during negotiations to reduce or drop criminal charges. A criminal defense attorney can help people charged with violent crimes to assess this and other possible defenses.  To learn more about building a defense for any criminal matter, contact the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222.