Philadelphia Defense Attorney for Self Defense Charges
If you are in danger of being harmed by another person, your instincts will likely tell you to fight back to avoid being injured. Unfortunately, some people are taken into custody and charged with assault or other crimes when they were rightly justified to protect themselves. However, there are some arguments that can be made to avoid criminal charges imposed after defending yourself from an attack. If you or a family member was arrested while acting in self-defense, contact an experienced Philadelphia self-defense attorney today.
The Law Office of Lloyd Long understands the importance of protecting yourself and your family from an attack, and we are ready to help you manage your criminal case. Our firm is devoted to providing every client with the unique representation they deserve by avoiding taking a large number of clients so we can use our full resources for each client. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171, or contact us online.
Pennsylvania Self-Defense Laws
Self-defense is an act that is carried out to protect yourself from harm that is being inflicted by another party. In Pennsylvania, there are various scenarios where a person could use the defense of self-defense to avoid being prosecuted for assault and other related crimes. However, claiming self-defense may not be valid if you exercised an inappropriate level of force to protect yourself from an attack.
The following is a list of scenarios where it is legal to use self-defense to protect yourself and others.
Deadly force is force that can cause a fatal injury to another person. In order to use deadly force to defend yourself, you must believe that this level of force is required to prevent another from causing you serious bodily harm or possibly killing you. For example, if another person is approaching you with a knife and attempts to cut you, this a scenario where deadly force would be justified.
Use of deadly force is also appropriate if the defendant believes they will be kidnapped or if they are being forced to commit a sexual act.
It is important to note that there a number of scenarios where an individual could be charged with a crime for using deadly force in an incorrect manner. For example, a defendant cannot properly claim the use of deadly force if they provoked the use of force against them in a scheme to intentionally injure the other party.
Additionally, the use of deadly force is not justified when a person has an avenue to retreat from the aggressor. However, if the aggressor attacks a victim while they are in the safety of their home or at their place of work, the victim has no duty to retreat from this space unless they were the initial aggressor. This is referred to as the castle doctrine, as places like a home, vehicle, or job are areas where a person should feel safe and where they can fully defend against an attack. However, unlike the State of Florida, Pennsylvania does not have “stand your ground” laws which allow a person to use deadly force to fight off an attack in any scenario.
If a person does not believe they are in danger of being seriously or fatally injured, they can only use non-deadly force to protect against an attack. When utilizing non-deadly force to protect against an attack, an individual can only use an amount of force that is necessary to stave off an attack. For example, if you are attacked by a person who is using their fists, picking up a gun would be an inappropriate level of force.
It is important to note that a person can claim self-defense to protect their own safety or the safety of others that are threatened. This means if a member of your family is threatened with deadly force, deadly force can be used to defend them.
Exceptions to Self-Defense Laws
There are multiple exceptions to validly claiming self-defense. One situation where a person cannot claim self-defense is if a defendant resists a lawful arrest carried out by a law enforcement officer.
A defendant can also not use self-defense for assaulting a person that was protecting their property. For example, if you illegally enter the property of another, you cannot claim self-defense when they try to remove you from the property. Also, as previously mentioned, a person cannot use self-defense when they are the initial aggressor.
Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle Your Case
If you or a family member was arrested for violating self-defense laws, contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer today. With a wealth of experience in a variety of criminal case topics, the Law Office of Lloyd Long is prepared to help you fight your criminal case. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your defense options, contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.