Bill Text - HB1135 (2016)

Relative to physical force in defense of a person.

Revision: Dec. 14, 2015, midnight

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AN ACT\trelative to physical force in defense of a person.


SPONSORS:\tRep. Abramson, Rock. 20; Rep. McConnell, Ches. 12


COMMITTEE:\tCriminal Justice and Public Safety






\tThis bill redefines the circumstances which justify the use of physical force in defense of a person.


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Explanation:\tMatter added to current law appears in bold italics.

\t\tMatter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

\t\tMatter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen


AN ACT\trelative to physical force in defense of a person.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


\t1  Physical Force in Defense of a Person.  RSA 627:4 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

\t627:4  Physical Force in Defense of a Person.  

\t\tI.  A person is justified in using non-deadly force upon another person in order to defend himself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful, non-deadly force by such other person, and he or she may use a degree of such force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose. However, such force is not justifiable if:

\t\t\t(a)  With a purpose to cause physical harm to another person, he or she provoked the use of unlawful, non-deadly force by such other person; or

\t\t\t(b)  He or she was the initial aggressor, unless after such aggression he or she withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his or her intent to do so, but the latter notwithstanding continues the use or threat of unlawful, non-deadly force; or

\t\t\t(c)  The force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not authorized by law.  

\t\tII.  A person is justified in using deadly force upon another person when he or she believes or a reasonable person would believe that such other person:

\t\t\t(a)  Is about to commit a felony or use unlawful, deadly force against the actor or a third person; or

\t\t\t(b)  Is likely to use any unlawful force against a person present while committing or attempting to commit a burglary.

\t\tIII.  A person who responds to a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or to another by displaying a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person making the threat shall not have committed a criminal act.

  \t\tIV.  A person is justified in using any force upon another person which does not cause permanent disability, permanent loss of any of the bodily senses, or death in order to prevent or terminate any trespass or unlawful force against a person.

\t2  Justification; Definitions.  Amend RSA 627:9 to read as follows:

\t627:9  Definitions.   As used in this chapter:

\t\tI.  "Curtilage'' means [those outbuildings which are proximately, directly and intimately connected with a dwelling, together with all the land or grounds surrounding the dwelling such as are necessary, convenient, and habitually used for domestic purposes] the area, however large in size, that surrounds a dwelling and that is necessary, convenient, or habitually used by the occupants or guests, including the area used for outdoor recreational activities associated with the dwelling.

\t\tII.  "Deadly force'' means any assault or confinement which the actor commits with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury. Purposely firing a firearm capable of causing serious bodily injury or death in the direction of another person or at a vehicle in which another is believed to be constitutes deadly force.

\t\tIII.  "Dwelling'' means [any building, structure, vehicle, boat or other place adapted for overnight accommodation of persons, or sections of any place similarly adapted. It is immaterial whether a person is actually present] a structure, building, shed, barn, outhouse, or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed for or capable of use by people, or is occupied by people, including the curtilage of the same.

\t\tIV. "Non-deadly force'' means any assault or confinement which does not constitute deadly force. The act of producing or displaying a weapon shall constitute non-deadly force.

\t\tV.  "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.

\t\tVI.  "Vehicle" means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed or used to transport people or property including, but not limited to aircraft and other modern forms of transportation, including public transportation.

\t3 Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.