“A man’s home is his castle” is a proverbial expression of personal privacy, security, and even whim, that dates back to Cicero asking rhetorically (in Latin, of course) “What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man’s own home?” In certain circumstances, Pennsylvania law permits persons to use force for the protection of their real and personal property. Part one of this blog will address the protection of land or real property.
The law applies to land or movable property that is or is believed by a person to be, in his possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection he acts. In the case of real property, the use of force is justifiable when an individual believes that such force is immediately necessary to prevent or end an unlawful entry or other trespass upon land.
Regarding entry into the actual physical structure that is a person’s home, the use of deadly force is justifiable provided that three requirements are met. First, there must be an entry into the actor’s dwelling; second, the actor must neither believe nor have reason to believe that the entry is lawful; and third, the actor must neither believe nor have reason to believe that any force less than deadly force would be adequate to stop the entry.
The use of force is justifiable if an individual believes that the person against whom he uses force has no claim of right to the possession of the property and, in the case of real property, the circumstances, as the individual acting believes them to be, are of such urgency that it would be an exceptional hardship to postpone the entry or reentry until a court order is obtained to enter the land and retake the property.
A person who has been dispossessed of land does not regain possession merely by setting foot thereon. A person who has a license to use or occupy real property is deemed to be in possession thereof except against the licensor acting under claim of right. The use of force to prevent or terminate a trespass is not justifiable if the actor knows that the exclusion of the trespasser will expose him to substantial danger of serious bodily injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from any type of accident, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777 or visit us online. The attorneys and staff of Powell Law carry on the work of a law firm that spans generations and has represented thousands of Pennsylvanians over a period of 113 years. The consultation is free and you don’t pay any fees unless we win your case! Call today.