“Stand your ground” refers to laws allowing individuals to use deadly force (usually a firearm) when facing a life-or-death situation. These statutes remove any duty to retreat before using force against kidnapping, rape, robbery, or great bodily harm.
Pennsylvania has slightly different laws when it comes to deadly force and self-defense. Keep reading to learn more about PA castle doctrine statutes.
Castle doctrines are a variation of stand your ground laws. The name comes from the adage, “your home is your castle,” and you have a right to protect yourself, your home, and your loved ones from grave danger.
According to Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 505, individuals do not have a duty to retreat when threatened in their home, property, or car. This defense also applies if someone attempts to harm you while in your car, RV, campsite tent, hotel room, and anywhere you are currently occupying.
Pennsylvania’s castle doctrine provides less legal coverage for the workplace. Here, you may only use deadly force if:
Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 505 states that you can use deadly force for self-protection from death, abduction, or serious physical injury. You do not have a duty to retreat from your home, car, or place of work to protect yourself.
Under 18 Pa.C.S.A § 506, the use of deadly force is justifiable to protect others when you believe your help is necessary to save another person’s life. This statute presumes that the person you’re trying to protect would take similar actions if possible. Finally, you may assert self-defense when you are in the same dangerous circumstances as the other person (such as a hostage situation).
You have the right to use deadly force to protect your property, according to 18 Pa.C.S.A § 507. This includes a homeowner discovering someone has broken into their house or confronting an armed and dangerous trespasser on their property.
There are specific situations where the castle doctrine is not an applicable defense for using deadly force.
The legal protections for castle doctrine do not apply if you are the initial aggressor.
You cannot invoke castle doctrine in situations involving armed police officers who identify themselves and issue a warning.
You must have “clean hands” for the castle doctrine to apply; you cannot use this defense for deadly force to justify committing a crime.
Castle doctrine statutes don’t generally apply to individuals presumed to have the legal right to enter your home.
These include tenants, landlords, and people with lawful custody to remove your children from your home.
Pennsylvania laws allow individuals to defend themselves when faced with potential death or injury. The castle doctrine does not necessarily protect you from being detained or arrested. Police officers must investigate all situations involving deadly force.
Award-winning criminal defense attorney Michael J. Skinner recommends that individuals arrested for deadly force remain silent until a lawyer is present. Tell the arresting officer or questioning detective that you want to exercise your right to remain silent and want an attorney with you.
Everything you say can and will be used against you. Even an innocent or inadvertent remark could jeopardize your freedom.
Pennsylvania has castle doctrine laws that allow individuals to use reasonable judgment and deadly force to protect themselves, others, and property. The Skinner Law Firm understands these laws and how they could apply to your defense.
By Michael Skinner |
02 Sep, 2022
By Michael Skinner |
10 Jun, 2022