Discovering that a lawsuit lies ahead can be incredibly confusing and upsetting. When that situation involves violence, it can become all the more difficult to manage and even understand. There are a number of criminal defenses Pennsylvania residents can make, but there are also other factors involved in these situations that can create gray areas.

One unique aspect to Pennsylvania’s laws is in regard to using armed force in desperate situations. When it comes to defending the right to use force against an intruder, Pennsylvania’s “castle doctrine” is now known as the “stand your ground” law. Previously, residents could legally use deadly force to defend against intruders; however, the recent “stand your ground” amendment holds that anyone in a lawful place outside the home has no duty to retreat, and may even use force if necessary. The circumstances include threats to one’s life, bodily injury, sexual intercourse or kidnapping. Despite modifications, there remains a great deal of controversy surrounding this amendment. In Pennsylvania, a resident can only stand his or her ground — potentially killing an assailant — when the assailant is armed.   

Unfortunately, few self defense cases are completely black and white. Instead, a person may be facing a complex lawsuit after a heated incident, which U.S. News mentions in an article on how to handle being sued. U.S. News goes on to express that a person going through this difficult time can easily become emotionally, mentally and physically drained. These effects can especially apply to cases that involve a disagreement between individuals. However, by staying updated on current state laws, and by maintaining one straightforward story, U.S. News states that it is possible to come out of a case without any baggage to drag behind. And although outcomes may vary depending on the situation, there are a number of resources defendants can turn to that can help clarify an otherwise devastating incident.