Pennsylvania Law On Self-Defense

If you or someone you know has been charged with a violent crime, it is imperative that you have a working knowledge of the Pennsylvania laws that permit you to use force — and sometimes deadly force — in your defense. From offices in West Chester, our trial lawyers represent clients charged with assault in Chester County and Montgomery County, as well as state and federal court jurisdictions throughout Pennsylvania. Call us at 610-314-7066 or contact our offices by email to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced Chester County assault attorney anytime, day or night.

Former Prosecutors, Self-Defense Attorneys

The general rule of self-defense in Pennsylvania for nondeadly force is that the use of nondeadly force is justifiable if you believe that such force is necessary for the purpose of protecting yourself against the use of unlawful force by another person.

The Use Of Deadly Force In Pennsylvania For Self-Defense

Pennsylvania laws for the permissible use of deadly force are extremely complicated. Generally speaking, you do not have a duty to retreat and may use deadly force when you are in your home or car and you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to protect yourself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or nonconsensual sexual intercourse. However, this use of deadly force is not permitted when:

  • (i) the actor, with the intent of causing death or serious bodily injury, provoked the use of force against himself in the same encounter; or
  • (ii) the actor knows that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety by retreating if he was the initial aggressor

Under Pennsylvania law, deadly force is defined as force that, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

The Use Of Deadly Force In Pennsylvania For The Protection And Defense Of Others

The general rule in Pennsylvania for the permissible use of deadly force for the protection of others is as follows: Generally speaking, a person may use force in the protection of another when:

  1. The actor would be justified under section 505 (relating to use of force in self-protection) in using such force to protect himself against the injury he believes to be threatened to the person whom he seeks to protect;
  2. Under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and
  3. The actor believes that his intervention is necessary for the protection of such other person.

Contact An Experienced Self-Defense Attorney At Bellwoar Kelly, LLP

Our office is conveniently located one block from the West Chester County Courthouse. Call us anytime of the day or night or use our convenient email contact form to arrange an initial free consultation. If you are unable to come to our offices, we can make arrangements to meet at the police station, your home or another convenient location.

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