One of the primary defenses in Criminal Cases is the defense of self-defense. Self-Defense can be used as a defense in Criminal Cases for a number of different reasons. First, an accused can use self-defense in order to defend himself, other people that he is with or may know and even his property. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the law of self-defense is addressed in the Doctrine which is familiarly known as the Castle Doctrine. Assault Crimes The Castle Doctrine, which gained quite a bit of attention in the Florida homicide case against Mr. Zimmerman, involves the notion that people (specifically an accused), does not have a duty to retreat or run away from an aggressor. Specifically, an accused has the right to stand his ground. And that notion is certainly true if an accused is in his dwelling, home or residence at a time when people are attempting to forcibly enter.
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.
There are specific circumstances in which you are legally allowed to use deadly force. In Pennsylvania, you are granted the right to use deadly force if you believe that it is necessary to protect yourself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat. Deadly force is not to be used as an immediate response, but rather as last resort. You are not authorized to use deadly force in protection to the acts previously stated if you were the initial aggressor of the situation or you are able to retreat safely in response. In Pennsylvania, you are not obligated to retreat from your home and in some circumstances your work. This is known as a Castle Doctrine.