Legal Information: Delaware

Statutes: Delaware

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Updated: 
November 29, 2021

§ 222. General definitions

When used in this Criminal Code:

(1) “Building,” in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes any structure, vehicle or watercraft. Where a building consists of 2 or more units separately secured or occupied, each unit shall be deemed a separate building.

(2) “Controlled substance” or “counterfeit substance” shall have the same meaning as used in Chapter 47 of Title 16.

(3) “Conviction” means a verdict of guilty by the trier of fact, whether judge or jury, or a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere accepted by the court.

(4) “Covert firearm” means any firearm that is constructed in a shape or configuration such that it does not resemble a firearm.

(5) “Dangerous instrument” means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury, or any disabling chemical spray, as defined in paragraph (7) of this section or any electronic control devices including but not limited to a neuromuscular incapacitation device designed to incapacitate a person.

(6) “Deadly weapon” includes a “firearm”, as defined in paragraph (12) of this section, a bomb, a knife of any sort (other than an ordinary pocketknife carried in a closed position), switchblade knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, razor, bicycle chain or ice pick or any “dangerous instrument”, as defined in paragraph (4) of this section, which is used, or attempted to be used, to cause death or serious physical injury. For the purpose of this definition, an ordinary pocketknife shall be a folding knife having a blade not more than 3 inches in length.

(7) “Defraud” means to acquire a gain or advantage by fraud.

(8) “Disabling chemical spray” includes mace, tear gas, pepper spray or any other mixture containing quantities thereof, or any other aerosol spray or any liquid, gaseous or solid substance capable of producing temporary physical discomfort, disability or injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispersed in the air, or any canister, container or device designed or intended to carry, store or disperse such aerosol spray or such gas or solid.

(9) “Drug” means any substance or preparation capable of producing any alteration of the physical, mental or emotional condition of a person.

(10) “Elderly person” means any person who is 62 years of age or older. Thus, the terms “elderly person” and “person who is 62 years of age or older” shall have the same meaning as used in this Code or in any action brought pursuant to this Code.

(11) “Electronic control device” is a device designed to incapacitate a person, including but not limited to a neuromuscular incapacitation device.

(12) “Female” means a person of the female sex.

(13) “Firearm” includes any weapon from which a shot, projectile or other object may be discharged by force of combustion, explosive, gas and/or mechanical means, whether operable or inoperable, loaded or unloaded. It does not include a BB gun.

(14) “Firearm frame or receiver” means the part of the firearm that provides housing for the firearm’s internal components, and includes the hammer, bolt or breechblock, action, and firing mechanism.

(15) “Fraud” means an intentional perversion, misrepresentation or concealment of truth.

(16) “Law” includes statutes and ordinances. Unless the context otherwise clearly requires, “law” also includes settled principles of the common law of Delaware governing areas other than substantive criminal law.

(17) “Law-enforcement officer” includes police officers, the Attorney General and the Attorney General’s deputies, agents of the State Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, agents employed by a state, county or municipal law-enforcement agency engaged in monitoring sex offenders, correctional officers, probation and parole officers, state fire marshals, municipal fire marshals that are graduates of a Delaware Police Academy which is accredited/authorized by the Council on Police Training, sworn members of the City of Wilmington Fire Department who have graduated from a Delaware Police Academy which is authorized/accredited by the Council on Police Training, environmental protection officers, enforcement agents of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and constables. A sheriff or deputy sheriff shall be considered a “law-enforcement officer” when acting upon a specific order of a judge or commissioner of Superior Court. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs shall not have any arrest authority. However, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs may take into custody and transport a person when specifically so ordered by a judge or commissioner of Superior Court.

(18) “Lawful” means in accordance with law or, where the context so requires, not prohibited by law.

(19) “Major component of a firearm” means the slide, barrel, cylinder, trigger group, or receiver of a firearm.

(20) “Male” means a person of the male sex.

(21) “Mental illness” means any condition of the brain or nervous system recognized as a mental disease by a substantial part of the medical profession.

(22) “Narcotic drug” shall have the same definition as contained in § 4701 of Title 16.

(23) “Oath or affirmation,” for the purpose of warrants, can be made via videophone, telephone, secure electronic means or in person.

(24) “Person” means a human being who has been born and is alive, and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, a trust, a firm, a joint stock company, a union, an unincorporated association, a partnership, a government or a governmental instrumentality.

(25) “Physical force” means any application of force upon or toward the body of another person.

(26) “Physical injury” means impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

(27) “Public transit operator” means a person in control or in charge of a transportation vehicle for public use, in exchange for a fee or charge, offered by any railroad, street railway, traction railway, motor bus, or trolley coach. Specifically excluded are:

a. Transportation to and from any school or school-sponsored event when such transportation is under the regulation of the Department of Education; and

b. Transportation to and from a church, synagogue or other place of worship;

c. Shuttle-type transportation provided by business establishments without charge to customers of the businesses offering such shuttle transportation between fixed termini; and

d. Limousine services.

(28) “Security exemplar” means an object, to be fabricated at the direction of the United States Attorney General, that is all of the following:

a. Constructed of 3.7 ounces of material type 17-4 PH stainless steel in a shape resembling a handgun.

b. Suitable for testing and calibrating metal detectors.

(29) “Serious mental disorder” means any condition of the brain or nervous system recognized as defective, as compared with an average or normal condition, by a substantial part of the medical profession.

(30) “Serious physical injury” means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ, or which causes the unlawful termination of a pregnancy without the consent of the pregnant female.

(31) “Telephone,” in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes any computer (as defined in § 931 of this title) or any other electronic device which is actually used to engage in a wire communication (as defined in § 2401(20) of this title) with any other telephone, computer or electronic device.

(32) “Therapeutic abortion” means an abortion performed pursuant to subchapter IX of Chapter 17 of Title 24.

(33) “Three-dimensional printer” means a computer or computer-driven machine of device capable of producing a three-dimensional object from a digital model.

(34) “Undetectable firearm” means a firearm constructed entirely of non-metal substances, or a firearm that after removal of all of the major components of a firearm, is not detectable by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar, or firearm which includes a major component of a firearm, which, if subject to the types of detection devices commonly used at airports for security screening, would not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component. It does not include a firearm subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 922(p)(3) through (6).

(35) “Unfinished firearm frame or receiver” means a firearm frame or receiver that requires further machining or molding in order to be used as part of a functional firearm, and which is designed and intended to be used in the assembly of a functional firearm.

(36) “Unlawful” means contrary to law or, where the context so requires, not permitted by law. It does not mean wrongful or immoral.

(37) “Untraceable firearm” means a firearm for which the sale or distribution chain from a licensed retailer to the point of its first retail sale cannot be traced by law enforcement officials. “Untraceable firearm” does not include any of the following:

a. Firearms manufactured prior to 1968.

b. Muzzle-loading firearms designed to use black power or its equivalent.

c. Firearms which are designed as replicas of antique firearms originally manufactured prior to 1898.

(38) “Vehicle” includes any means in or by which someone travels or something is carried or conveyed or a means of conveyance or transport, whether or not propelled by its own power.

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