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Code of Alabama - Title 13A: Criminal Code - Section 13A-3-27 - Use of force in making an arrest or preventing an escape

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Section 13A-3-27 - Use of force in making an arrest or preventing an escape.

(a) A peace officer is justified in using that degree of physical force which he reasonably believes to be necessary, upon a person in order:

(1) To make an arrest for a misdemeanor, violation or violation of a criminal ordinance, or to prevent the escape from custody of a person arrested for a misdemeanor, violation or violation of a criminal ordinance, unless the peace officer knows that the arrest is unauthorized; or

(2) To defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of physical force while making or attempting to make an arrest for a misdemeanor, violation or violation of a criminal ordinance, or while preventing or attempting to prevent an escape from custody of a person who has been legally arrested for a misdemeanor, violation or violation of a criminal ordinance.

(b) A peace officer is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary in order:

(1) To make an arrest for a felony or to prevent the escape from custody of a person arrested for a felony, unless the officer knows that the arrest is unauthorized; or

(2) To defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.

(c) Nothing in subdivision (a)(1), or (b)(1), or (f)(2) constitutes justification for reckless or criminally negligent conduct by a peace officer amounting to an offense against or with respect to persons being arrested or to innocent persons whom he is not seeking to arrest or retain in custody.

(d) A peace officer who is effecting an arrest pursuant to a warrant is justified in using the physical force prescribed in subsections (a) and (b) unless the warrant is invalid and is known by the officer to be invalid.

(e) Except as provided in subsection (f), a person who has been directed by a peace officer to assist him to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody is justified in using physical force when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that force to be necessary to carry out the peace officer's direction.

(f) A person who has been directed to assist a peace officer under circumstances specified in subsection (e) may use deadly physical force to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape only when:

(1) He reasonably believes that force to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or

(2) He is authorized by the peace officer to use deadly physical force and does not know that the peace officer himself is not authorized to use deadly physical force under the circumstances.

(g) A private person acting on his own account is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person whom he reasonably believes has committed a felony and who in fact has committed that felony, but he is justified in using deadly physical force for the purpose only when he reasonably believes it necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.

(h) A guard or peace officer employed in a detention facility is justified:

(1) In using deadly physical force when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what he reasonably believes to be the escape of a prisoner accused or convicted of a felony from any detention facility, or from armed escort or guard;

(2) In using physical force, but not deadly physical force, in all other circumstances when and to extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what he reasonably believes to be the escape of a prisoner from a detention facility.

(3) "Detention facility" means any place used for the confinement, pursuant to law, of a person:

a. Charged with or convicted of an offense; or

b. Charged with being or adjudicated a youthful offender, a neglected minor or juvenile delinquent; or

c. Held for extradition; or

d. Otherwise confined pursuant to an order of a criminal court.

(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §630; Acts 1979, No. 79-599, p. 1060, §1.)
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Last modified: March 18, 2014