Using Self-Defense against Violent Crimes. One of the primary issues that arises in discussions about the law of self-defense in Pennsylvania is when can someone use Deadly Force? Pennsylvania law regarding the use of deadly force against violent crimes and self-defense in general can be found under Title 18 section 505. Read more on self-defense Although the statute lists the legal factors which are to be considered when the defense of self-defense in broached in a trial, it is generally up to the jury to decide whether the use of deadly force was or was not warranted. Make sure to contact an experienced Chester County Self-defense attorney if you have any questions about when you are permitted to use deadly force.
The law in Pennsylvania permits the use of deadly force under certain circumstances. Specifically, section 505 states that:
The use of deadly force is not justifiable unless the defendant, (the person using the deadly force) believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death or serious bodily injury. The law goes on to state that the Defendant is presumed to have a reasonable belief that deadly force is immediately necessary if both of the following conditions exist:
(i) The person against whom the deadly force is used is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, the Defendant's residence; Violent Crime of Robbery Or the Defendant has reason to believe that the forced entry is happening. (This presumption does not apply if the Defendant is engaged in criminal activity or using his dwelling to conduct criminal activity.
So what does this all mean? Basically, if someone is breaking into your dwelling by force then it is presumed that you have a reasonable believe that deadly force is necessary to defend yourself. However, a Defendant loses this presumption if he is engaged in criminal activity. An example of criminal activity would be if you have drugs in your home or you are dealing drugs out of your home or you are in the process of beating someone up.