Use of force
Laws may authorize the use of physical force under certain circumstances but they do not mandate the use of force, and the decision to use force lies solely with the user. Most state laws provide for the use of physical force in the protection of three things: people, Real property (land or structures), and personal property under four circumstances:
- To prevent an illegal act from occurring.
- To stop an illegal act already in progress.
- To arrest or take the perpetrator of an illegal act into custody.
- To prevent a perpetrator from escaping from custody.
When force is used, the courts will consider:
- Under the circumstances, was the use of physical force necessary?
- Under the circumstances, how much physical force was necessary?
- Under the circumstances, did the use of force endanger innocent people?