The question of shooting someone in self-defense raises a lot of questions. One should remember that everything from the legality of owning the weapon used to shoot the attacker to the use of reasonable force is considered in a case such as this one. On one hand, someone may be acting out of hand by pulling a weapon, while someone else may be breaking and entering.
These are all considerations that the court will take into account when coming to a decision, as should you after firing upon someone in an act of self-defense. Reach out to learn about your firearm rights in Pennsylvania and how the Ciccarelli Law Offices are here to help.
The Legality of the Gun Used in the Altercation
First of all, it will be determined if the person with the gun is legally possessing the weapon. If someone in Pennsylvania has not been authorized the right to carry a weapon due to their past, they may be severely jeopardizing their case. Furthermore, if someone were to be concealing their weapon without a license to carry at the authorization of their local county sheriff, they may be in a poor position going into their lawsuit.
However, depending on the circumstances, someone may still be able to claim that It was in the best interest of their livelihood to use the weapon in self-defense. In any case, you may still be facing penalties if shooting someone in self-defense with an illegal weapon.
Determining Self-Defense: How Your Case May Unfold
There are certain criteria that one must meet in order for their case to be considered self-defense. First and foremost, the victim must act “reasonably”. It must be noted that someone can only use reasonable force in response to an attacker, yet this notion varies depending on the situation. One example is the “castle doctrine”. The castle doctrine is a law that permits someone to use a firearm in self-defense when someone illegally enters their home and prevents a threat. In this case, The victim is not required to retreat or resort to other means in the meantime.
On the other hand, resorting to the firearm used on property that is not your own is a different story. While Pennsylvania is a stand your ground state, meaning someone is able to use a gun in self-defense in public without retreating, one is only able to use this type of deadly force if a deadly weapon is brandished. In formal terms, the victim “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and use force, including deadly force if . . . (he) believes it is immediately necessary to do so to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, or sexual intercourse by force or threat.” The law goes on to explain that to “stand your ground”, the victim must have seen a lethal weapon on the assailant.
Need Criminal Defense? We Got Your Back
It is critical that you remember that you must reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one becomes enveloped in a case of self-defense. A Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will need as much time as possible to properly handle your case. Reach out to us today at the Ciccarelli Law Offices by calling (610) 692-8700 or following the link to our Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers webpage.