Physical disputes can quickly escalate and lead to criminal charges. In many cases, individuals in these situations are charged with felony level assault and battery, but in the most severe cases an individual can be hit with more serious charges like murder. If you’re on the receiving end of any of these allegations, then you need to be prepared to aggressively defend yourself because the penalties that could be thrust on you upon conviction can be devastating.
Fortunately, you might have multiple criminal defense options available to you. If you can’t challenge the acts in question, then you might want to consider whether you can successfully claim self-defense. Under Pennsylvania law you are justified in using force when it is deemed immediately necessary to protect yourself or another. There are some obvious exceptions to this, including a prohibition against using force while resisting arrest or protecting from an aggressor who is entitled to protect his or her property. It’s important to note that you can’t claim self-defense if you were the initial aggressor who created the need for additional force.
Even deadly force is authorized under the law. Depending on the circumstances, though, a duty to retreat may apply, meaning that you have to try to get away before deadly force is justified. In other circumstances, such as when an individual breaks into your home armed with a gun, you might be relieved of the obligation to retreat first. This means that cases of deadly force need to be carefully analyzed to determine which defense strategy makes the most sense.
Facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing can be frightening, especially given the stakes that are in play. That’s why you’ll need to be thorough in preparing your criminal defense, gathering relevant documents, and prepping key witnesses’ testimony. You’ll also need to anticipate the prosecution’s arguments and prepare to counter them. To do so successfully, you need to know the law, how juries respond to certain arguments, and how to craft those arguments in a persuasive fashion. If that sounds hard, then take comfort knowing that there are skilled criminal defense attorney out there who are ready to fight for you and your best interests.