Delaware Code Title 11. Crimes and Criminal Procedure § 467. Justification--Use of force in law enforcement




(a) The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable when:

(1) The defendant is making an arrest or assisting in making an arrest and believes that such force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest;  or

(2) The defendant is attempting to arrest an individual that has taken a hostage, and refused to comply with an order to release the hostage;  and

a. The defendant believes that the use of force is necessary to prevent physical harm to any person taken hostage;  or

b. The defendant has been ordered by an individual the defendant believes possesses superior authority or knowledge to apply the use of force.

(b) The use of force is not justifiable under this section unless:

(1) The defendant makes known the purpose of the arrest or believes that it is otherwise known or cannot reasonably be made known to the person to be arrested;  and

(2) When the arrest is made under a warrant, the warrant is valid or believed by the defendant to be valid;  or

(3) When the arrest is made without a warrant, the defendant believes the arrest to be lawful.

(c) The use of deadly force is justifiable under this section if all other reasonable means of apprehension have been exhausted, and:

(1) The defendant believes the arrest is for any crime involving physical injury or threat thereof, and the deadly force is directed at a vehicle to disable it for the purpose of effecting the arrest, or the defendant believes the arrest is for a felony involving physical injury or threat thereof;

(2) The defendant believes that the force employed creates no substantial risk of injury to innocent persons;  and

(3) The defendant believes that there is a substantial risk that the person to be arrested will cause death or serious physical injury, or will never be captured if apprehension is delayed.

(d) The use of force to prevent the escape of an arrested person from custody is justifiable when the force could justifiably have been employed to effect the arrest under which the person is in custody, except that a guard or other person authorized to act as a peace officer is justified in using any force, including deadly force, which the person believes to be immediately necessary to prevent the escape of a person from a jail, prison or other institution for the detention of persons charged with or convicted of a crime.

(e) The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable when the defendant believes that such force is immediately necessary to prevent such other person from committing suicide, inflicting serious physical injury upon the person's self or committing a crime involving or threatening physical injury, damage to or loss of property or a breach of the peace, except that the use of deadly force is not justifiable under this subsection unless:

(1) The defendant believes that there is a substantial risk that the person whom the defendant seeks to prevent from committing a crime will cause death or serious physical injury to another unless the commission of the crime is prevented and that the use of deadly force presents no substantial risk of injury to innocent persons;  or

(2) The defendant believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to suppress a riot or mutiny after the rioters or mutineers have been ordered to disperse and warned, in any manner that the law may require, that such force will be used if they do not obey.

(f) The use of deadly force is justifiable under this section if the defendant is attempting to arrest an individual that has taken a hostage, and has refused to comply with an order to release the hostage;  and

(1) The defendant believes that the use of force is necessary to prevent physical harm to any person taken hostage, or the defendant has been ordered by an individual the defendant believes possesses superior authority or knowledge to apply the use of force;  and

(2) The defendant believes that the force employed creates no substantial risk of injury to innocent persons;  and

(3) The defendant or a person of superior authority or knowledge who order the use of deadly force believes that there is a substantial risk that the person to be arrested will cause death or serious physical injury.





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