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  1. #1
    Tacticalmedic21 is offline Junior Member
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    What rights do I have if someone tries to break into our apartment?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Pennsylvania

    I was wondering what rights I would have pertaining to the defense of myself, my fiancee, and her 3 kids if someone were to try and break into our apartment. I'm a tactical medic, so I currently own a small handgun (it terrifies me to think I'd have to use it, but the question was raised tonight, and I wasn't 110% sure) Someone told me something about a 'castle doctrine' that Pennsylvania adopted...but I can't find anything on it. Any and all information you can provide would prove useful.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You have the right to defend yourself against a reasonable threat to your person. It's always SMARTER to call the police if possible, rather then confront an invader on your own.
  3. #3
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    To my knowledge, while the Castle Doctrine law has been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature several times over the past few years, it has NEVER gotten very far.

    As pointed out, using a gun (either by shooting someone or even brandishing it) will likely get you trouble for someone OUTSIDE your apartment, even if you perceive them to be trying to break in.

    Common sense and personal safety suggest removing yourself and calling for police rather than attempting to use "tactical medic" training to blast away at your perceived attacker.

    What the hell is a tactical medic, anyhow?
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Military combat medic?
  5. #5
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Military combat medic?
    That doesn't jive with the "so I own a small handgun".

    I was a paramedic for years. Our tactical medic moves were to send the police in first. The state had a few state police officers trained as medics because they were the crew on the police operated helicopters that were a coup between the state EMS head, but they were just "Aviation Trauma Technicians" they only had guns because when not doing "medic" duty they were regular cops.
  6. #6
    divona2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    ...What the hell is a tactical medic, anyhow?
    Tac Meds go into the Hot Zone, they are with law enforcement officials during high-risk ops, to treat injured tac team members, bystanders or suspects. Since they might be doing this while under fire, TEMS people are prepared and equipped to participate in the tactical operations.
  7. #7
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    If this guy were a cop, then I suspect that he would KNOW his rights with regard to protecting himself, his property and his family.
  8. #8
    Tacticalmedic21 is offline Junior Member
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    I'm not a cop, I'm a paramedic that works with the local police dept whenever they go out on ops. I had no idea what rights I had, given the aforementioned circumstances.
  9. #9
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    You should suggest to them that if you are going to play cops and robbers with real guns, that they should actually train you in the legal and safety issues with using them.
  10. #10
    Tacticalmedic21 is offline Junior Member
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    What we can and can't do when we're out is clearly specified. All I was asking is what I could and could not do if given a specific situatuion in MY home. The scenerio was brought up by one of our officers, to which the response was given "If they were physically inside my house, then I'd try to manage the offender from a safe distance, resorting to deadly force ONLY if necessary" -which seemed like a good response-. One of the senior officers overheard this conversation and said that we'd better research the matter a bit further.....and seeing as how the title of the sight is 'free LEGAL advice' I figured that this would probably be the best place to start... While alot of the feedback has been helpful, responses like yours remind me why I shouldn't have kids.....
  11. #11
    Andy0192 is offline Member
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    If you're licensed to carry a hand-gun, you should get to know the laws concerning self defense. You certainly have the right to defend yourself.

    If you want to just shoot someone for knocking on your door, or trying to enter the house, you should probably read this story first. It certainly got a lot of media coverage back when it happened:

    [url=http://www.pottstownmercury.com/articles/2009/10/08/news/srv0000006573613.txt]Naked man's killer fights wrongful death suit - The Mercury News: Pottstown, PA and The Tri County areas of Montgomery, Berks and Chester Counties (pottsmerc.com)[/url]
  12. #12
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tacticalmedic21 View Post
    seeing as how the title of the sight is 'free LEGAL advice' I figured that this would probably be the best place to start... While alot of the feedback has been helpful, responses like yours remind me why I shouldn't have kids.....
    And attitudes like your illiterate post show remind me that there are a lot of greedy idiots out there. The "FREE" part indicates both the fact that you are getting valuable information for nothing as well as the fact that EVERYBODY who posts here to help you is also GETTING nothing other than abuse from ingrates like you for our assistance when we are overly frank in our explicit advice.

    I gave you the legal advice that there is no such law in my first TIMELY post.

    By the way Andy's frank posting of the Bellina case is quite appropriate. By the way, that was an old article. Bellina (as expected) lost that case and ended up being assessed both compensatory and punitive damages in the wrongful death action. (By the way State Farm refused to pay anything towards this claim based on the previous criminal conviction). This was in addition to him being found guilty of manslaughter. The relevant facts in this case is that Bellina was awakened to find a naked drunken man (turned out to be a neighbor) trying to open his patio door and shot and killed him in the ensuing altercation and was found guilty and sentenced to 6-20 years (having previous retracted a plea deal for 5 years). Jury only took 90 minutes, said it was cut and dry. You can't just go pumping bullets into someone because they are trespassing.

    Of course, Bellina is a real piece of work. He had was also hit with a DV order from his girlfriend because we was beating her child.
    Last edited by FlyingRon; 12-30-2009 at 01:00 PM.
  13. #13
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You can't just shoot someone because they break into or are attempting to break into your home. This isn't Texas, trespassing does not justify deadly force. An intruder would have to present a credible threat of bodily harm to you or a family member. For example, if you are upstairs and you hear someone breaking in downstairs, going down there with gun drawn would be the WRONG approach - call the police and stay out of sight. If you are out, and return home to find someone in the house, avoid confronting the person if possible - call 911 from outside. If you walk into the house and find an intruder there and he sees you but is unarmed, you can't shoot him. If he tries to run away, you can't shoot him. If he is armed and actively threatening you and retreat is not possible, THEN you might be able to justify shooting him.
  14. #14
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    You can't just shoot someone because they break into or are attempting to break into your home. This isn't Texas, trespassing does not justify deadly force. An intruder would have to present a credible threat of bodily harm to you or a family member. For example, if you are upstairs and you hear someone breaking in downstairs, going down there with gun drawn would be the WRONG approach - call the police and stay out of sight. If you are out, and return home to find someone in the house, avoid confronting the person if possible - call 911 from outside. If you walk into the house and find an intruder there and he sees you but is unarmed, you can't shoot him. If he tries to run away, you can't shoot him. If he is armed and actively threatening you and retreat is not possible, THEN you might be able to justify shooting him.
    I know you have close to 20,000 posts but you're wrong here. You can absolutely use lethal force against somebody who has broken into your house in PA because this is considered a deadly threat on your life. You are not ever expected to retreat or hide in your own home and allow an unlawful intruder free reign to do what they please. You're also not required to give the intruder the benefit of the doubt as to his intentions or whether not they are armed.

    The sole consideration when there is an intruder in your home is whether or not a lawful occupant reasonably considers their life to be in danger (or serious injury) and an uninvited stranger in your living room at 2 in the morning is most certainty a threat on your life.

    The "duty to retreat" does not apply to one's own home.

    Yes PA does not have a "Stand your ground" law but that applies to situations outside of one's home so that's not relevant to the OP's question.

    You actually think a homeowner, especially one with a family, is expected to round up everybody in the house so they can run outside on the front lawn and then call 911?

    I can do a little digging and post some specific links if you don't believe me, but with all due respect to ecmst12 his advice is not correct.
  15. #15
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    I found what I was looking for.


    [url=http://law.onecle.com/pennsylvania/crimes-and-offenses/00.005.005.000.html]Use of force in self-protection - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 505 - Pennsylvania Attorney Resources - Pennsylvania Laws[/url]

    It's long so I won't post it all here but the key points are as follows


    The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable
    when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary
    for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of
    unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.


    the actor is not obliged to retreat from his
    dwelling or place of work, unless he was the initial
    aggressor or is assailed in his place of work by
    another person whose place of work the actor knows it
    to be;


    So in essence as long as you reasonably believe you are in danger of death or injury you can use deadly force. This link has more pertaining specifically to defense of property but the jist is the same

    [url=http://law.onecle.com/pennsylvania/crimes-and-offenses/00.005.007.000.html]Use of force for the protection of property - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 507 - Pennsylvania Attorney Resources - Pennsylvania Laws[/url]

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