New AL law: No criminal charges if you break into car to save child

Updated: Jul. 2, 2019 at 7:42 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - So far this year, 17 kids have been killed in hot cars. Now, there’s a new law in Alabama that could keep you from being criminally charged if you break into a car to rescue a child.

The new law, set to go into effect this fall, would save you from criminal charges if you follow the guidelines.

There are a few things you need to do before breaking into the car to make sure you’re in fact following the law.

The car must be locked with no other way for the child, or incapacitated person, to get out of the car.

And you have to call 911 before you break in.

The law says you need to have a reasonable belief that the child is in danger or suffering harm.

You also need to stay with the child in a safe location until first responders get there.

Pelham Fire Chief Tim Honeycutt says they get more calls from concerned residents in the summer, and this law could mean quicker response times.

“It will impact our response because, especially in an event like that where we would respond to one, it will now help us to manage the incident a little quicker without any type of hesitation,” said Chief Honeycutt.

If you follow those steps, you would be immune from criminal liability for damage to the car.

And for public safety officials, they’re immune for criminal and civil liability.

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