State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_15A > GS_15A-401


Article 20.


§ 15A‑401.  Arrest bylaw‑enforcement officer.

(a)        Arrest by OfficerPursuant to a Warrant. –

(1)        Warrant inPossession of Officer. – An officer having a warrant for arrest in hispossession may arrest the person named or described therein at any time and atany place within the officer's territorial jurisdiction.

(2)        Warrant Not inPossession of Officer. – An officer who has knowledge that a warrant for arresthas been issued and has not been executed, but who does not have the warrant inhis possession, may arrest the person named therein at any time. The officermust inform the person arrested that the warrant has been issued and serve thewarrant upon him as soon as possible. This subdivision applies even though thearrest process has been returned to the clerk under G.S. 15A‑301.

(b)        Arrest by OfficerWithout a Warrant. –

(1)        Offense in Presenceof Officer. – An officer may arrest without a warrant any person who theofficer has probable cause to believe has committed a criminal offense in theofficer's presence.

(2)        Offense Out ofPresence of Officer. – An officer may arrest without a warrant any person whothe officer has probable cause to believe:

a.         Has committed afelony; or

b.         Has committed amisdemeanor, and:

1.         Will not beapprehended unless immediately arrested, or

2.         May cause physicalinjury to himself or others, or damage to property unless immediately arrested;or

c.         Has committed amisdemeanor under G.S. 14‑72.1, 14‑134.3, 20‑138.1, or 20‑138.2;or

d.         Has committed amisdemeanor under G.S. 14‑33(a), 14‑33(c)(1), 14‑33(c)(2), or14‑34 when the offense was committed by a person with whom the allegedvictim has a personal relationship as defined in G.S. 50B‑1; or

e.         Has committed amisdemeanor under G.S. 50B‑4.1(a); or

f.          Has violated apretrial release order entered under G.S. 15A‑534.1(a)(2).

(3)        Repealed by SessionLaws 1991, c. 150.

(4)        A law enforcementofficer may detain an individual arrested for violation of an order limitingfreedom of movement or access issued pursuant to G.S. 130A‑475 or G.S.130A‑145 in the area designated by the State Health Director or localhealth director pursuant to such order. The person may be detained in such areauntil the initial appearance before a judicial official pursuant to G.S. 15A‑511and G.S. 15A‑534.5.

(c)        How Arrest Made. –

(1)        An arrest iscomplete when:

a.         The person submitsto the control of the arresting officer who has indicated his intention toarrest, or

b.         The arrestingofficer, with intent to make an arrest, takes a person into custody by the useof physical force.

(2)        Upon making anarrest, a law‑enforcement officer must:

a.         Identify himself asa law‑enforcement officer unless his identity is otherwise apparent,

b.         Inform the arrestedperson that he is under arrest, and

c.         As promptly as isreasonable under the circumstances, inform the arrested person of the cause ofthe arrest, unless the cause appears to be evident.

(d)        Use of Force inArrest. –

(1)        Subject to theprovisions of subdivision (2), a law‑enforcement officer is justified inusing force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonablybelieves it necessary:

a.         To prevent theescape from custody or to effect an arrest of a person who he reasonablybelieves has committed a criminal offense, unless he knows that the arrest isunauthorized; or

b.         To defend himself ora third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent useof physical force while effecting or attempting to effect an arrest or whilepreventing or attempting to prevent an escape.

(2)        A law‑enforcementofficer is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person for apurpose specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection only when it is orappears to be reasonably necessary thereby:

a.         To defend himself ora third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent useof deadly physical force;

b.         To effect an arrestor to prevent the escape from custody of a person who he reasonably believes isattempting to escape by means of a deadly weapon, or who by his conduct or anyother means indicates that he presents an imminent threat of death or seriousphysical injury to others unless apprehended without delay; or

c.         To prevent theescape of a person from custody imposed upon him as a result of conviction fora felony.

Nothingin this subdivision constitutes justification for willful, malicious orcriminally negligent conduct by any person which injures or endangers anyperson or property, nor shall it be construed to excuse or justify the use ofunreasonable or excessive force.

(e)        Entry on PrivatePremises or Vehicle; Use of Force. –

(1)        A law‑enforcementofficer may enter private premises or a vehicle to effect an arrest when:

a.         The officer has inhis possession a warrant or order or a copy of the warrant or order for thearrest of a person, provided that an officer may utilize a copy of a warrant ororder only if the original warrant or order is in the possession of a member ofa law enforcement agency located in the county where the officer is employedand the officer verifies with the agency that the warrant is current and valid;or the officer is authorized to arrest a person without a warrant or orderhaving been issued,

b.         The officer hasreasonable cause to believe the person to be arrested is present, and

c.         The officer hasgiven, or made reasonable effort to give, notice of his authority and purposeto an occupant thereof, unless there is reasonable cause to believe that thegiving of such notice would present a clear danger to human life.

(2)        The law‑enforcementofficer may use force to enter the premises or vehicle if he reasonablybelieves that admittance is being denied or unreasonably delayed, or if he isauthorized under subsection (e)(1)c to enter without giving notice of hisauthority and purpose.

(f)         Use of DeadlyWeapon or Deadly Force to Resist Arrest. –

(1)        A person is notjustified in using a deadly weapon or deadly force to resist an arrest by a law‑enforcementofficer using reasonable force, when the person knows or has reason to knowthat the officer is a law‑enforcement officer and that the officer iseffecting or attempting to effect an arrest.

(2)        The fact that thearrest was not authorized under this section is no defense to an otherwisevalid criminal charge arising out of the use of such deadly weapon or deadlyforce.

(3)        Nothing contained inthis subsection (f) shall be construed to excuse or justify the unreasonable orexcessive force by an officer in effecting an arrest. Nothing contained in thissubsection (f) shall be construed to bar or limit any civil action arising outof an arrest not authorized by this Article.

(g)        Care of minorchildren. – When a law enforcement officer arrests an adult who is supervisingminor children who are present at the time of the arrest, the minor childrenmust be placed with a responsible adult approved by a parent or guardian of theminor children. If it is not possible to place the minor children with aresponsible adult approved by a parent or guardian within a reasonable periodof time, the law enforcement officer shall contact the county department ofsocial services.  (1868‑9,c. 178, subch. 1, ss. 3, 5; Code, ss. 1126, 1128; Rev., ss. 3178, 3180; C.S.,ss. 4544, 4546; 1955, c. 58; 1973, c. 1286, s. 1; 1979, c. 561, s. 3; c. 725,s. 4; 1983, c. 762, s. 1; 1985, c. 548; 1991, c. 150, s. 1; 1995, c. 506, s.10; 1997‑456, s. 3; 1999‑23, s. 7; 1999‑399, s. 1; 2002‑179,s. 14; 2004‑186, s. 13.1; 2009‑544, s. 2.)