DE § 466. Justification — Use of force for the protection of property.

State: Delaware

 

Delaware Criminal Code (D.C.D.)

TITLE 11. Crimes and Criminal Procedure

CHAPTER 4. DEFENSES TO CRIMINAL LIABILITY

§ 466. Justification — Use of force for the protection of property.

(a) The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable when the defendant believes that such force is immediately necessary:

(1) To prevent the commission of criminal trespass or burglary in a building or upon real property in the defendant’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the defendant acts; or

(2) To prevent entry upon real property in the defendant’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the defendant acts; or

(3) To prevent theft, criminal mischief or any trespassory taking of tangible, movable property in the defendant’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the defendant acts.

(b) The defendant may in the circumstances named in subsection (a) of this section use such force as the defendant believes is necessary to protect the threatened property, provided that the defendant first requests the person against whom force is used to desist from interference with the property, unless the defendant believes that:

(1) Such a request would be useless; or

(2) It would be dangerous to the defendant or another person to make the request; or

(3) Substantial harm would be done to the physical condition of the property which is sought to be protected before the request could effectively be made.

(c) The use of deadly force for the protection of property is justifiable only if the defendant believes that:

(1) The person against whom the force is used is attempting to dispossess the defendant of the defendant’s dwelling otherwise than under a claim of right to its possession; or

(2) The person against whom the deadly force is used is attempting to commit arson, burglary, robbery or felonious theft or property destruction and either:

a. Had employed or threatened deadly force against or in the presence of the defendant; or

b. Under the circumstances existing at the time, the defendant believed the use of force other than deadly force would expose the defendant, or another person in the defendant’s presence, to the reasonable likelihood of serious physical injury.

(d) Where a person has used force for the protection of property and has not been convicted for any crime or offense connected with that use of force, such person shall not be liable for damages or be otherwise civilly liable to the one against whom such force was used.