Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 563
Defense of Justification
Section 563.051

August 28, 2014


Beginning January 1, 2017--Private person's use of force in making an arrest.

563.051. 1. A private person who has been directed by a person he or she reasonably believes to be a law enforcement officer to assist such officer to effect an arrest or to prevent escape from custody may, subject to the limitations of subsection 3 of this section, use physical force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out such officer's direction unless he or she knows or believes that the arrest or prospective arrest is not or was not authorized.

2. A private person acting on his or her own account may, subject to the limitations of subsection 3 of this section, use physical force to arrest or prevent the escape of a person whom such private person reasonably believes has committed an offense, and who in fact has committed such offense, when the private person's actions are immediately necessary to arrest the offender or prevent his or her escape from custody.

3. A private person in effecting an arrest or in preventing escape from custody is justified in using deadly force only:

(1) When deadly force is authorized under other sections of this chapter; or

(2) When he or she reasonably believes deadly force is authorized under the circumstances and he or she is directed or authorized by a law enforcement officer to use deadly force; or

(3) When he or she reasonably believes such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to arrest a person who at that time and in his or her presence:

(a) Committed or attempted to commit a class A felony or murder; or

(b) Is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon.

4. The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of justification under this section.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60, A.L. 2014 S.B. 491)

Effective 1-01-17

Until December 31, 2016--Private person's use of force in making an arrest.

563.051. 1. A private person who has been directed by a person he reasonably believes to be a law enforcement officer to assist such officer to effect an arrest or to prevent escape from custody may, subject to the limitations of subsection 3, use physical force when and to the extent that he reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out such officer's direction unless he knows or believes that the arrest or prospective arrest is not or was not authorized.

2. A private person acting on his own account may, subject to the limitations of subsection 3, use physical force to effect arrest or prevent escape only when and to the extent such is immediately necessary to effect the arrest, or to prevent escape from custody, of a person whom he reasonably believes to have committed a crime and who in fact has committed such crime.

3. A private person in effecting an arrest or in preventing escape from custody is justified in using deadly force only

(1) When such is authorized under other sections of this chapter; or

(2) When he reasonably believes such to be authorized under the circumstances and he is directed or authorized by a law enforcement officer to use deadly force; or

(3) When he reasonably believes such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest of a person who at that time and in his presence

(a) Committed or attempted to commit a class A felony or murder; or

(b) Is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon.

4. The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of justification under this section.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60)

Effective 1-01-79

*This section was amended by S.B. 491, 2014, effective 1-01-17. Due to the delayed effective date, both versions of this section are printed here.


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