Updates to the Castle Doctrine: When it is Okay to use Deadly Force?
One of the first Acts signed by Governor Corbett deals with self defense and the actions citizens can take when they feel physically threatened. The new law could have an impact on rental owners. Act 10 of 2011 expands the Pennsylvania law that allows the use of deadly force in self-protection. Generally, a person can now use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to protect him or herself, “against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat”, as long as certain specified conditions exist. Citizens no longer have such a high duty to retreat (that is, to first try to flee) as before. Decks, patios and porches are now considered part of the “dwelling” where residents can stand their ground and use deadly force if they reasonably believe it is necessary. Citizens can also protect themselves with deadly force when necessary if, when sitting in their vehicles, someone tries to forcefully enter. The Act also addresses when public officers can use deadly force in the performance of their duties.