North Dakota Century Code (N.D.C.C.)

Chapter 12.1 Criminal Code


12.1-05-07. Limits on the use of force – Excessive force – Deadly force.

1. An individual is not justified in using more force than is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.

2. Deadly force is justified in the following instances:

a. When it is expressly authorized by law or occurs in the lawful conduct of war.

b. When used in lawful self-defense, or in lawful defense of others, if such force is necessary to protect the actor or anyone else against death, serious bodily injury, or the commission of a felony involving violence. The use of deadly force is not justified if it can be avoided, with safety to the actor and others, by retreat or other conduct involving minimal interference with the freedom of the individual menaced. An individual seeking to protect another individual must, before using deadly force, try to cause the other individual to retreat, or otherwise comply with the requirements of this provision, if safety can be obtained thereby. However, the duty to retreat or avoid force does not apply under the following circumstances:

(1) A public servant justified in using force in the performance of the public servant’s duties or an individual justified in using force in assisting the public servant need not desist from the public servant’s or individual’s efforts because of resistance or threatened resistance by or on behalf of the other individual against whom the public servant’s or individual’s action is directed;


(2) An individual is not required to retreat within or from that individual’s dwelling or place of work or from an occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01, unless the individual was the original aggressor or is assailed by another individual who the individual knows also dwells or works there or who is lawfully in the motor home or travel trailer.

c. When used by an individual in possession or control of a dwelling, place of work, or an occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01, or by an individual who is licensed or privileged to be there, if the force is necessary to prevent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, or a felony involving violence upon or in the dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer, and the use of force other than deadly force for these purposes would expose any individual to substantial danger of serious bodily injury.

d. When used by a public servant authorized to effect arrests or prevent escapes, if the force is necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an individual who has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving violence, or is attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon, or has otherwise indicated that the individual is likely to endanger human life or to inflict serious bodily injury unless apprehended without delay.

e. When used by a guard or other public servant, if the force is necessary to prevent the escape of a prisoner from a detention facility, unless the guard or public servant knows that the prisoner is not an individual as described in subdivision d. A detention facility is any place used for the confinement, pursuant to a court order, of an individual charged with or convicted of an offense, charged with being or adjudicated a juvenile delinquent, held for extradition, or otherwise confinedvunder court order.

f. When used by a duly licensed physician, or an individual acting at the physician’s direction, if the force is necessary to administer a recognized form of treatment to promote the physical or mental health of a patient and if the treatment is administered in an emergency; with the consent of the patient, or, if the patient is a minor or an incompetent person, with the consent of the patient’s parent, guardian, or other person entrusted with the patient’s care and supervision; or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

g. When used by an individual who is directed or authorized by a public servant, and who does not know that the public servant is not authorized to use deadly force under the circumstances.