Bill Summaries: H74 (2011-2012 Session)

  • Summary date: Feb 10 2011 - View summary

    Repeals GS 14-51.1 (use of deadly force against an intruder) and enacts new Article 62, Justifiable Use of Force, to GS Chapter 14 providing that a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to self or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if both of the following apply: (1) the person against whom the force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had so entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or had removed or attempted to remove another against that person’s will and (2) the person using the deadly force knew or had reason to believe that such unlawful and forcible entry or removal had occurred.
    The presumption does not apply if (1) the person against whom the force was used had a right to be in the dwelling, residence, or vehicle and there is not a protective or no contact order against that person; (2) the person removed or sought to be removed is a child or grandchild or is otherwise under lawful custody or guardianship of the person against whom the defensive force is used; (3) the person using the force is engaged in a forcible felony (as defined in the proposed Article 62) or using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further a forcible felony; or (4) the person against whom the force is used is a law enforcement officer acting in the lawful performance of the officer’s official duties and who has made known his or her status as a law enforcement officer or the person using force should have known the individual was an officer.
    Provides that a person who is attacked while in any other place that the person has a right to be and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity (1) does not have a duty to retreat and (2) has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if the person reasonably believes that it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to that person or another person.
    Provides that a person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter another’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
    Permits the use of force in defense of others. Prohibits the use of deadly force in the defense of others unless the person acting in defense of others reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
    Provides immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for a person using justifiable force as defined in proposed Article 62 of GS Chapter 14. States that a person who is justified in the use of force may not be prosecuted criminally or civilly.
    Prohibits the use of the defense of justifiable force if the person seeking to use the defense is (1) attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of a forcible felony or (2) initially provoked the use of force against him or her. Provides exceptions if the person who initially provoked the use of force reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and has exhausted every reasonable means of escape, or the person withdraws in good faith from physical contact with the assailant and clearly indicates that he or she wishes to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
    Provides that the use of justifiable force is a defense to civil actions for damages for personal injury or wrongful death or for injury to property. Provides criteria for establishing this defense. Additionally provides that a losing party in civil actions where a party prevails based on the defense created in proposed Article 62 may lose privileges provided at the correctional facility where the losing party is incarcerated at the discretion of the court. Also provides for awarding attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party.
    Provides that a law enforcement officer is not liable in any civil or criminal action arising out of the use of any less-lethal munition in good faith during and within the scope of the officer’s official duties.
    Defines terms as used in the proposed new section.
    Effective December 1, 2011, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date. Provides that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date are not abated or affected by this act and the statutes that would be applicable to such offenses were it not for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions.