Under Pennsylvania law, there are statutes dealing with violent crimes put into place that allow you to practice self-defense without facing criminal charges. In order for the use-of-force towards another person to be justifiable via self-defense against violent crimes, you must believe that such force is necessary to protect yourself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat.  violent crimes charges In order to legally use force, you cannot be the initial aggressor of the situation. In addition, there is a duty for you to retreat from the situation if you are able to do so safely. Only in situations where you would not be able to safely retreat are you permitted to use force. In Pennsylvania, you are afforded more rights to use of force if you are in your home or car.

In 2011, Pennsylvania passed the Castle Doctrine. The Castle Doctrine expands on your use-of-force rights. Under the Castle Doctrine, you do not have a duty to retreat from your home, even if you are the initial aggressor. In some states you are obligated to retreat if you are able to do so safely, but in Pennsylvania you have no obligation to retreat from the situation. The same applies to if you are at work, but there are exceptions. There is a duty for you to retreat, if you can do so safely, before you use force against a co-worker. Your “castle” includes your dwelling, your residence, or your car (only if you are in it). According to the Castle Doctrine, a “dwelling” includes any building or structure, including any attached porch, deck or patio, through moveable or temporary, or a portion thereof, which is for the time being the home or place of lodging of the actor. violent crimes Regardless of whether you own the home or not, if it is where you are currently staying, it is considered your “castle”. This includes your home, your hotel room, a relative’s house, etc. If you have questions regarding the Castle Doctrine or a situation regarding your use-of-force, it is best to consult a criminal defense attorney in order to best understand your case.​