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Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE
Part 1: GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Chapter 5: DEFENSES AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES; JUSTIFICATION

§104. Use of force in defense of premises

1. A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person in or upon such premises.
[ 2007, c. 173, §20 (AMD) .]
2. A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using deadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt by the other person to commit arson.
[ 2007, c. 173, §20 (AMD) .]
3. A person in possession or control of a dwelling place or a person who is licensed or privileged to be therein is justified in using deadly force upon another person:
A. Under the circumstances enumerated in section 108; or [1975, c. 740, §26 (NEW).]
B. When the person reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person, who the person reasonably believes:
(1) Has entered or is attempting to enter the dwelling place or has surreptitiously remained within the dwelling place without a license or privilege to do so; and
(2) Is committing or is likely to commit some other crime within the dwelling place. [2007, c. 173, §20 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §20 (AMD) .]
4. A person may use deadly force under subsection 3, paragraph B only if the person first demands the person against whom such deadly force is to be used to terminate the criminal trespass and the trespasser fails to immediately comply with the demand, unless the person reasonably believes that it would be dangerous to the person or a 3rd person to make the demand.
[ 2007, c. 173, §20 (AMD) .]
5. As used in this section:
A. Dwelling place has the same meaning provided in section 2, subsection 10; and [1975, c. 740, §26 (NEW).]
B. Premises includes, but is not limited to, lands, private ways and any buildings or structures thereon. [1975, c. 740, §26 (NEW).]
[ 1975, c. 740, §26 (NEW) .]

105. Use of force in property offenses

A person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what is or reasonably appears to be an unlawful taking of the person’s property, or criminal mischief, or to retake the person’s property immediately following its taking; but the person may use deadly force only under such circumstances as are prescribed in sections 104, 107 and 108. [2007, c. 173, §21 (AMD).]

§106. Physical force by persons with special responsibilities

1. A parent, foster parent, guardian or other similar person responsible for the long term general care and welfare of a child is justified in using a reasonable degree of force against that child when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or punish the child’s misconduct. A person to whom such parent, foster parent, guardian or other responsible person has expressly delegated permission to so prevent or punish misconduct is similarly justified in using a reasonable degree of force. For purposes of this subsection, “child” means a person who has not attained 18 years of age and has not been ordered emancipated by a court pursuant to Title 15, section 3506-A.
[ 2009, c. 336, §6 (AMD) .]
1-A. For purposes of subsection 1, “reasonable degree of force” is an objective standard. To constitute a reasonable degree of force, the physical force applied to the child may result in no more than transient discomfort or minor temporary marks on that child.
[ 2009, c. 336, §7 (AMD) .]
2. A teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a person for special and limited purposes is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force against any such person who creates a disturbance when and to the extent that the teacher or other entrusted person reasonably believes it necessary to control the disturbing behavior or to remove a person from the scene of such disturbance.
[ 2009, c. 336, §8 (AMD) .]
3. A person responsible for the general care and supervision of a mentally incompetent person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force against such person who creates a disturbance when and to the extent that the responsible person reasonably believes it necessary to control the disturbing behavior or to remove such person from the scene of such disturbance.
[ 2009, c. 336, §9 (AMD) .]
4. The justification extended in subsections 2 and 3 does not apply to the intentional, knowing or reckless use of nondeadly force that creates a substantial risk of extraordinary pain.
[ 2009, c. 336, §10 (AMD) .]
5. A person required by law to enforce rules and regulations, or to maintain decorum or safety, in a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, train or other carrier, or in a place where others are assembled, may use nondeadly force when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary for such purposes.
[ 2007, c. 173, §22 (AMD) .]
6. A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to self-inflict serious bodily injury may use a degree of force on such other person as the person reasonably believes to be necessary to thwart such a result.
[ 2007, c. 173, §22 (AMD) .]
7. A licensed physician, or a person acting under a licensed physician’s direction, may use force for the purpose of administering a recognized form of treatment that the physician reasonably believes will tend to safeguard the physical or mental health of the patient, provided such treatment is administered:
A. With consent of the patient or, if the patient is a minor or incompetent person, with the consent of the person entrusted with the patient’s care and supervision; or [2007, c. 173, §22 (AMD).]
B. In an emergency relating to health when the physician reasonably believes that no one competent to consent can be consulted and that a reasonable person concerned for the welfare of the patient would consent. [1975, c. 499, §1 (NEW).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §22 (AMD) .]
8. A person identified in this section for purposes of specifying the rule of justification herein provided is not precluded from using force declared to be justifiable by another section of this chapter.
[ 2007, c. 173, §22 (AMD) .]

§107. Physical force in law enforcement

1. A law enforcement officer is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person:
A. When and to the extent that the officer reasonably believes it necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person, unless the officer knows that the arrest or detention is illegal; or [2003, c. 143, §3 (AMD).]
B. In self-defense or to defend a 3rd person from what the officer reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful nondeadly force encountered while attempting to effect such an arrest or while seeking to prevent such an escape. [2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD) .]
2. A law enforcement officer is justified in using deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes such force is necessary:
A. For self-defense or to defend a 3rd person from what the officer reasonably believes is the imminent use of unlawful deadly force; or [2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD).]
B. To effect an arrest or prevent the escape from arrest of a person when the law enforcement officer reasonably believes that the person has committed a crime involving the use or threatened use of deadly force, is using a dangerous weapon in attempting to escape or otherwise indicates that the person is likely to endanger seriously human life or to inflict serious bodily injury unless apprehended without delay; and
(1) The law enforcement officer has made reasonable efforts to advise the person that the officer is a law enforcement officer attempting to effect an arrest or prevent the escape from arrest and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is aware of this advice; or
(2) The law enforcement officer reasonably believes that the person to be arrested otherwise knows that the officer is a law enforcement officer attempting to effect an arrest or prevent the escape from arrest.
For purposes of this paragraph, “a reasonable belief that another has committed a crime involving use or threatened use of deadly force” means such reasonable belief in facts, circumstances and the law that, if true, would constitute such an offense by that person. If the facts and circumstances reasonably believed would not constitute such an offense, an erroneous but reasonable belief that the law is otherwise justifies the use of deadly force to make an arrest or prevent an escape. [2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD) .]
3. A private person who has been directed by a law enforcement officer to assist the officer in effecting an arrest or preventing an escape from custody is justified in using:
A. A reasonable degree of nondeadly force when and to the extent that the private person reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out the officer’s direction, unless the private person believes the arrest is illegal; or [2003, c. 143, §3 (AMD).]
B. Deadly force only when the private person reasonably believes such to be necessary for self-defense or to defend a 3rd person from what the private person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful deadly force, or when the law enforcement officer directs the private person to use deadly force and the private person believes the officer is authorized to use deadly force under the circumstances. [2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD) .]
4. A private person acting on that private person’s own is justified in using:
A. A reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the private person reasonably believes it necessary to effect an arrest or detention that is lawful for the private person to make or prevent the escape from such an arrest or detention; or [2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD).]
B. Deadly force only when the private person reasonably believes such force is necessary:
(1) To defend the person or a 3rd person from what the private citizen reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful deadly force; or
(2) To effect a lawful arrest or prevent the escape from such arrest of a person who in fact:
(a) Has committed a crime involving the use or threatened use of deadly force, or is using a dangerous weapon in attempting to escape; and
(b) The private citizen has made reasonable efforts to advise the person that the citizen is a private citizen attempting to effect an arrest or prevent the escape from arrest and has reasonable grounds to believe the person is aware of this advice or the citizen reasonably believes that the person to be arrested otherwise knows that the citizen is a private citizen attempting to effect an arrest or prevent the escape from arrest. [2003, c. 143, §3 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §23 (AMD) .]
5. Except where otherwise expressly provided, a corrections officer, corrections supervisor or law enforcement officer in a facility where persons are confined, pursuant to an order of a court or as a result of an arrest, is justified in using deadly force against such persons under the circumstances described in subsection 2. The officer or another individual responsible for the custody, care or treatment of those persons is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force when and to the extent the officer or the individual reasonably believes it necessary to prevent any escape from custody or to enforce the rules of the facility.
[ 1995, c. 215, §2 (AMD) .]
5-A. A corrections officer, corrections supervisor or law enforcement officer is justified in using deadly force against a person confined in the Maine State Prison when the officer or supervisor reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent an escape from custody. The officer or supervisor shall make reasonable efforts to advise the person that if the attempt to escape does not stop immediately, deadly force will be used. This subsection does not authorize any corrections officer, corrections supervisor or law enforcement officer who is not employed by a state agency to use deadly force.
[ 2003, c. 143, §3 (AMD) .]
6.
[ 1975, c. 740, §32 (RP) .]
7. Use of force that is not justifiable under this section in effecting an arrest does not render illegal an arrest that is otherwise legal and the use of such unjustifiable force does not render inadmissible anything seized incident to a legal arrest.
[ 1975, c. 499, §1 (NEW) .]
8. Nothing in this section constitutes justification for conduct by a law enforcement officer or a private person amounting to an offense against innocent persons whom the officer or private person is not seeking to arrest or retain in custody.
[ 2003, c. 143, §3 (AMD) .]

§108. Physical force in defense of a person

1. A person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person in order to defend the person or a 3rd person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful, nondeadly force by such other person, and the person may use a degree of such force that the person reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose. However, such force is not justifiable if:
A. With a purpose to cause physical harm to another person, the person provoked the use of unlawful, nondeadly force by such other person; or [2007, c. 173, §24 (AMD).]
B. The person was the initial aggressor, unless after such aggression the person withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person the intent to do so, but the other person notwithstanding continues the use or threat of unlawful, nondeadly force; or [2007, c. 173, §24 (AMD).]
C. The force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not authorized by law. [1975, c. 499, §1 (NEW).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §24 (AMD) .]
1-A. A person is not justified in using nondeadly force against another person who that person knows or reasonably should know is a law enforcement officer attempting to effect an arrest or detention, regardless of whether the arrest or detention is legal. A person is justified in using the degree of nondeadly force the person reasonably believes is necessary to defend the person or a 3rd person against a law enforcement officer who, in effecting an arrest or detention, uses nondeadly force not justified under section 107, subsection 1.
[ 1997, c. 351, §1 (NEW) .]
2. A person is justified in using deadly force upon another person:
A. When the person reasonably believes it necessary and reasonably believes such other person is:
(1) About to use unlawful, deadly force against the person or a 3rd person; or
(2) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping, robbery or a violation of section 253, subsection 1, paragraph A, against the person or a 3rd person; or [1989, c. 878, Pt. B, §15 (AMD).]
B. When the person reasonably believes:
(1) That such other person has entered or is attempting to enter a dwelling place or has surreptitiously remained within a dwelling place without a license or privilege to do so; and
(2) That deadly force is necessary to prevent the infliction of bodily injury by such other person upon the person or a 3rd person present in the dwelling place; [2007, c. 173, §24 (AMD).]
C. However, a person is not justified in using deadly force as provided in paragraph A if:
(1) With the intent to cause physical harm to another, the person provokes such other person to use unlawful deadly force against anyone;
(2) The person knows that the person against whom the unlawful deadly force is directed intentionally and unlawfully provoked the use of such force; or
(3) The person knows that the person or a 3rd person can, with complete safety:
(a) Retreat from the encounter, except that the person or the 3rd person is not required to retreat if the person or the 3rd person is in the person’s dwelling place and was not the initial aggressor;
(b) Surrender property to a person asserting a colorable claim of right thereto; or
(c) Comply with a demand that the person abstain from performing an act that the person is not obliged to perform. [2007, c. 173, §24 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 173, §24 (AMD) .]

§109. Consent

1. It is a defense that, when a defendant engages in conduct which would otherwise constitute a crime against the person or property of another, such other consented to the conduct and an element of the crime is negated as a result of such consent.
[ 1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW) .]
2. When conduct is a crime because it causes or threatens bodily injury, consent to such conduct or to the infliction of such injury is a defense only if:
A. Neither the injury inflicted nor the injury threatened was such as to endanger life or to cause serious bodily injury; [1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW).]
B. The conduct and the injury are reasonably foreseeable hazards of joint participation in a lawful athletic contest or competitive sport; or [1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW).]
C. The conduct and the injury are reasonably foreseeable hazards of an occupation or profession or of medical or scientific experimentation conducted by recognized methods, and the persons subjected to such conduct or injury have been made aware of the risks involved prior to giving consent. [1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW).]
3. Consent is not a defense within the meaning of this section if:
A. It is given by a person who is declared by a statute or by a judicial decision to be legally incompetent to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the crime, and such incompetence is manifest or known to the actor; [1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW).]
B. It is given by a person who, by reason of intoxication, mental illness or defect, or youth, is manifestly unable, or known by the defendant to be unable, to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the crime; or [1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW).]
C. It is induced by force, duress or deception. [1981, c. 324, §27 (NEW).]

§110. Threat to use deadly force against a law enforcement officer

A person otherwise justified in threatening to use deadly force against another is not justified in doing so with the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon if the person knows or should know that the other person is a law enforcement officer, unless the person knows that the law enforcement officer is not in fact engaged in the performance of the law enforcement officer’s public duty, or unless the person is justified under this chapter in using deadly force against the law enforcement officer. A law enforcement officer may not make a nonconsensual warrantless entry into a dwelling place solely in response to a threat not justified under this section. [1997, c. 289, §1 (NEW).]


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