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Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine

  • When the safety of yourself, your family, or your home is compromised by an aggressive party or intruder, you naturally want to do anything possible to prevent that breach of safety. In this article, I'll discuss the "Castle Doctrine" and statutes in Pennsylvania that allow you to use force trotect yourself and others.

    The Stand Your Ground Law in Pennsylvania

    Stand Your Ground - The Use of Force in Self-Protection in Pennsylvania

    In Pennsylvania, a statute that allows you, under certain circumstances, to use force to protect yourself and your family. Pennsylvania law states “The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the “actor” (party taking action against an intruder or assailant) believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself…”  Basically, if someone feels that they are in immediate danger due to the unlawful actions taken by another party, that person is entitled to defend him or herself under Pennsylvania law.

    Are There Limitation to The Stand Your Ground Law in Pennsylvania?

    Of course, there are limitations to this law and the actor must be able to justify the use of force against the aggressor. Section 505 B states that the use of deadly force is considered justifiable if the actor believes themselves or their loved ones to be in danger of “death, serious injury, kidnapping, or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat.” Should this be the case, the use of force in self-protection would be deemed proper and justifiable if the following conditions are also met:

    1.    The actor can or has the right to be in the location where they are attacked.
    2.    The person that the deadly force is used against uses or displays a firearm or any weapon apparently capable of lethal use.
    3.    The actor has not provoked the assailant in any way.
    4.    The actor is not in possession of an illegal firearm or involved in any illegal activity.
    5.    The actor is not using deadly force to resist arrest or hinder an officer of the peace.