CHAPTER 304

PROVIDING FOR UNIFORM ARREST ACT

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 155 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, AS AMENDED, BY PROVIDING FOR THE UNIFORM ARREST ACT, AN ACT CONCERNING ARRESTS BY PEACE OFFICERS, PROVIDING FOR THE QUESTIONING AND DETENTION OF SUSPECTS, SEARCHING SUSPECTS FOR WEAPONS, THE FORCE PERMISSIBLE IN MAKING AND RESISTING ARREST, ARREST WITHOUT A WARRANT, THE USE OF SUMMONS INSTEAD OF ARREST, THE RELEASE AND DETENTION OF PERSONS ARRESTED AND THE IDENTIFICATION OF WITNESSES, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES, AND MAKING UNIFORM THE LAW RELATING THERETO.

Be it enacted by the Senate and Home of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

That Chapter 155 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by inserting therein new Sections to be known as 5343-A. Sec. 49. to 5343-M. Sec. 61., inclusive, as follows:

5343-A. Sec. 49. DEFINITIONS:--As used in this Act: "Arrest" is the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be forthcoming to answer for the commission of a crime.

"Felony" is any crime which is now or which hereinafter shall be defined as such. Any other crime or any violation of a municipal ordinance is a misdemeanor.

"Peace officer" is any public officer authorized by law to make arrests in a criminal case.

5343-B. Sec. 50. QUESTIONING AND DETAINING SUSPECTS:--

(1) A peace officer may stop any person abroad whom he has reasonable ground to suspect is committing, has committed or is about to commit a crime, and may demand of him his name, address, business abroad and whither he is going.

(2) Any person so questioned who fails to identify himself or explain his actions to the satisfaction of the officer may be detained and further questioned and investigated.

(3) The total period of detention provided for by this Section shall not exceed two hours. The detention is not an arrest and shall not be recorded as an arrest in any official record. At the end of the detention the person so detained shall be released or be arrested and charged with a crime.

5343-C. Sec. 51. SEARCHING FOR WEAPONS; PERSONS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ARRESTED:--A peace officer may search for a dangerous weapon any person whom he has stopped or detained to question as provided in Section 50, whenever he has reasonable ground to believe that he is in danger if the person possesses a dangerous weapon. If the officer finds a weapon, he may take and keep it until the completion of the questioning, when he shall either return it or arrest the person. The arrest may be for the illegal possession of the weapon.

5343-D. Sec. 52. ARREST--PERMISSIBLE FORCE:--

(1) No unreasonable force or means of restraint shall be used in detaining or arresting any person.

(2) A peace officer who is making an arrest need not retreat or desist from his efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested; nor shall he be deemed an aggressor or lose his right to self-defense by the use of reasonable force to effect an arrest.

(3) A peace officer, who has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony, is justified in using such force as may be necessary to effect an arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance only when:

(B) The officer has made every reasonable effort to advise the person that he is a peace officer and is making an arrest.

5343-E. Sec. 53. RESISTING ARREST:--If a person has reasonable ground to believe that he is being arrested by a peace officer, it is his duty to refrain from using force or any weapon in resisting arrest regardless of whether or not there is a legal basis for arrest.

5343-F. Sec. 54. ARREST WITHOUT A WARRANT:--

(1) An arrest by a peace officer without a warrant for a misdemeanor is lawful whenever:

(A) He has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a misdemeanor in his presence.

(B) He has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a misdemeanor out of his presence and without the State, and if law enforcement officers of the State where the misdemeanor was committed request an arrest and the accused will not be apprehended unless immediately arrested.

(2) An arrest by a peace officer without a warrant for a felony, whether committed within or without the State is lawful whenever:

(A) He has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony, whether or not a felony has in fact been committed.

(B) A felony has been committed by the person to be arrested although before making the arrest the officer had no reasonable ground to believe the person committed it.

5343-G. Sec. 55. ARREST ON IMPROPER GROUNDS:--If a lawful cause of arrest exists, the arrest is lawful even though the officer charges the wrong offense or gives a reason that does not justify the arrest.

IN OFFICER'S POSSESSION:--An arrest by a peace officer acting under a warrant is lawful even though the officer does not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest, but, if the person arrested so requests, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as practicable.

5343-I. Sec. 57. SUMMONS INSTEAD OF ARREST:--

(I) In any case in which it is lawful for a peace officer to arrest without a warrant a person for a misdemeanor, he may, but need not, give him a written summons in substantially the following form:

Violator's Last Name First

Middle

O.C.P. No.

Birth Date Sex

M F

No. and Street City

State

Color W B 0

Occupation

Owner's Name First

Middle

 

State Tag No.

Address

     

Specific Offense

 

Sec. No. Date Acc.

Time M. Yes No

Hundred County

Route No.

Exact Location

S K NC

Magistrate

Arresting Officer

Troop

Date of Trial

Time

Address

You are hereby directed to appear at the time and place designated above to stand trial for the offense indicated. A failure to obey this summons may result in fine or imprisonment, or both.

Final Disposition of Upper Court Remarks

TRAFFIC ARREST REPORT

DELAWARE STATE POLICE

(2) If the person fails to appear in answer to the summons, or if there is reasonable cause to believe that he will not appear, a warrant for his arrest may issue. Willful failure to appear in answer to the summons may be punished by a fine of not over One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) or imprisonment for not over thirty days, or both.

5343-J. Sec. 58. RELEASE OF PERSONS ARRESTED:--

(1) Any officer in charge of a police department or any officer delegated by him may release, instead of taking before a Magistrate, any person who has been arrested without a warrant by an officer of his department whenever:

(A) He is satisfied either that there is no ground for making a criminal complaint against the person or that the person was arrested for drunkenness and no further proceedings are desirable; or

(B) The person was arrested for a misdemeanor and has signed an agreement to appear in court at a time designated, if the officer is satisfied that the person is a resident of the State and will appear in court at the time designated.

(2) A person released as provided in this Section shall have no right to sue on the ground that he was released without being brought before a Magistrate.

5343-K. Sec. 59. PERMISSIBLE DELAY IN BRINGING BEFORE MAGISTRATE:--If not otherwise released, every person arrested shall be brought before a Magistrate without unreasonable delay, and in any event he shall, if possible, be so brought within twenty-four hours of arrest, Sundays and holidays excluded, unless a Resident Judge of the County where he is detained or of the County where the crime was committed for good cause shown orders that he be held for a further period of not exceeding forty-eight hours.

5343-L. Sec. 60. IDENTIFICATION OF WITNESS:-- Whenever a peace officer has reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed, he may stop any person who he has reasonable ground to believe was present thereat and may demand of him his name and address. If the person fails to identify himself to the satisfaction of the officer, he may take the person forthwith before a Magistrate. If the person fails to identify himself to the satisfaction of the Magistrate, the latter may require him to furnish bond or may commit him to jail until he so identifies himself.

5343-M. Sec. 61. SEVERABILITY:--If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Approved June 5, 1951.