An Assault Lawyer in Kutztown PA Knows the Law on Self-Defense

by | Oct 15, 2018 | Lawyers

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Though people have the legal right to protect themselves and others from threats, there are limitations on when physical force may be used. In other terms, there’s a very fine line between self-defense and assault. The differences are confusing, but it’s important to understand them.

Assault vs. Self-Defense

If an altercation falls outside the state’s self-defense law, it may be charged as an assault. A person is justified in using force to defend themselves or someone else against the imminent threat or use of physical force, and they may use sufficient force to stop that threat.

In certain cases, a person’s right to defend themselves is not protected. For instance, if the altercation is mutual, or if a person provokes another and tries to claim self-defense, the claim would not work. Deadly force can only be used in cases where lesser force would be inadequate.

“Stand Your Ground” Laws

Similar to laws in other states, Pennsylvania has a “stand your ground” law that gives people the right to use force, including deadly force, against intruders and assailants. However, the law does not, as many believe, give a citizen the right to kill or shoot any unwanted visitor or assailant.

First, the person must have knowingly made an unlawful entry into a dwelling or committed a battery. Second, the plaintiff must have reasonably believed that the other person was ready to commit a violent crime or was in the process of committing one. Finally, the plaintiff must have a reasonable belief that the assailant may use force against them.

Defending Clients’ Right to Defend Themselves

Filing a self-defense claim isn’t the ‘free pass’ many people think it is. First, the responding officers will investigate the case. The district attorney will review that investigation and determine whether the use of force was justified under Pennsylvania law. If the district attorney believes the use of deadly force wasn’t justified, the plaintiff will face criminal charges. In this event, an assault lawyer in Kutztown PA may use an affirmative defense at trial.

Call Now

If a person is facing criminal charges because of a situation they believe constitutes self-defense, they shouldn’t assume the case will be thrown out. It’s important to consult an experienced Assault Lawyer in Kutztown PA to ensure that the client isn’t wrongly fined, incarcerated, or charged. Call today or visit us website for more details.