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What Are the Rules for Self-Defense in Pennsylvania? 

Strand Law Offices, LLC Sept. 8, 2022

When facing or anticipating danger, it is the human instinct to defend yourself. In fact, Pennsylvania laws allow you to protect yourself or other people against possible harm or danger using force. Nevertheless, there are specific state rules addressing the use of force or unlawful force towards another person in self-defense or the defense of others. A practiced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can help you understand the state rules regarding self-defense and if you can use this as a legal defense in your case.  

At Strand Law Offices, LLC, we enjoy providing comprehensive legal counsel and trustworthy representation to clients facing criminal charges. Our strategic attorney can investigate every aspect of your case, refute the accusations against you with factual evidence, and strategize an effective argument to establish legal self-defense during the trial. We're proud to serve clients across West Chester, Lancaster County, and surrounding counties throughout Pennsylvania. 

What Is Self-Defense?  

Self-defense can be described as the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force to protect yourself from potential danger, harm, or violence. According to Pennsylvania law – Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Section 505: 

"The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion." 

When Can It Be Used As A Legal Defense?  

According to statistics from the 2021 National Firearms Survey, more than 25 million Americans have used a gun in self-defense. In a Pennsylvania criminal case or trial, self-defense can be used as a legal defense in any of the following circumstances: 

  • The defendant was in imminent danger. 

  • The defendant had a reasonable belief that a threat existed. 

  • The defendant didn't use more force than necessary to protect themselves or others. 

  • The defendant wasn't the initial aggressor. 

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested and charged for using force or unlawful force against another person but were only protecting yourself or themselves, contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Your defense counsel can study all of the facts of your case, determine whether you have a valid legal defense, or help prove that you were only protecting yourself using force in accordance with Pennsylvania's stand-your-ground law.   

Stand Your Ground Law in Pennsylvania 

Additionally, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania follows the "stand your ground" principle. According to Pennsylvania law – Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Section 505(b)(2.3) – you have no duty to retreat and have the right to stand your ground and use force, including deadly force, if: 

  • You were lawfully in the place where the attack happened. 

  • You believe that it is immediately necessary to do so to protect yourself against serious bodily injury, kidnapping, death, or sexual intercourse by threat or force. 

  • The other person displayed or used a firearm, replica firearm, or any other lethal weapon. 

A familiar lawyer can assess all of the surrounding facts of your case, strive to prove that you only acted in self-defense, or attempt to establish your innocence. 

Get Trusted Legal Advice Today 

When under a reasonable belief of potential harm or danger, you are allowed to act in self-defense. However, you may be facing a criminal charge for your use of force or otherwise unlawful acts against someone else. Therefore, if you are under investigation for using force or unlawful force against another person but were only protecting yourself, you need to retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney for clear direction and to help build your defense strategy. 

At Strand Law Offices, LLC, we have the interest and expertise to represent and defend individuals facing criminal accusations of using force against another person. As your legal counsel, we can analyze and investigate every last detail of your specific situation and educate you about everything you need to establish legal self-defense arguments during trial. Also, our accomplished lawyer has the resources to uphold your rights, attempt to prove that you only acted in self-defense, and help keep your record clean.  

If you're facing criminal allegations for acting in defense of yourself or others, you deserve strategic legal support and loyal representation. Contact Strand Law Offices, LLC today to schedule an easy case assessment with a trusted criminal defense lawyer. Our firm proudly represents clients across West Chester, Lancaster County, and surrounding counties throughout Pennsylvania.