Violent Crimes Defense: Justification under Pennsylvania Law

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2015 | Violent Crimes

If you are charged criminally with committing violent crimes, one of several possible defenses you might have is the Defense of Justification under Pennsylvania Law. The Justification defense essentially permits a person accused of committing violent crimes to argue that he committed the crime that he is charged with, but he only committed the crime because it was necessary for him to do so. Read here about whether to speak with the police  Since Justification is a defense under Pennsylvania law to   violent crimes, an accused may only use the defense if he is admits that he committed the crime that he is charged with in the first place.

The Justification defense is codified under Pennsylvania law under Title 18 Pa. C.S. 503: Pennsylvania Law on Self Defense Justification generally. The statute states that “Conduct which the actor believes to be necessary to avoid a harm or evil to himself or to another is justifiable if:

(1) the harm or evil sought to be avoided by such conduct is greater than that sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense charged;

An example of this occurs when the accused seriously injures someone whom he reasonably believes is trying to kill or seriously injure him. However, the same actor would not be permitted under the justification defense to kill someone if he only reasonably believed that the other actor was going to shove or push him. Additionally, the statute states that one of the few exceptions to the Justification defense occurs when the Defendant, who is trying to use the defense of Justification, either recklessly or negligently brought harm or evil he is claiming justification to prevent.

The main thing to keep in mind when considering whether defenses such as the Justification Defense apply to your situation, is that you should seriously consider hiring an experienced violent crime attorney who has handled the type of cases that you are facing.

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