COLORADO SPRINGS - Lawmakers are looking at ways to protect people who break into cars to help children or pets.
Right now in Colorado, if you forcefully enter a car to help a child or an animal, your good Samaritan deed could turn into criminal charges.
You could face several charges, like criminal mischief, and trespassing.
New legislation aims to change that.
House Bill 1179 outlines how a good Samaritan could intervene in a situation like this and would have immunity from damages associated with the incident.
The bill also outlines steps someone must take to act, though.
- Have a good faith belief that the person or animal is in imminent danger of death or suffering great bodily injury;
- Verify the vehicle is locked;
- Make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or operator of the vehicle;
- Contact a law enforcement or other first responder agency prior to forcibly entering the vehicle and not interfere with the actions of any such responding law enforcement agency;
- Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the locked vehicle;
- Remain with the at-risk person or animal in a safe location close to the vehicle until law enforcement or other first responder arrives at the scene; except that, if the person rendering assistance has to leave the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returns, prior to leaving the scene, the person rendering assistance shall leave a notice on the vehicle with his or her name and contact information and the name and location, if any, of the facility to which he or she took the at-risk person or animal. Also prior to leaving the scene, the person rendering assistance shall contact law enforcement, animal control, or other first responders to provide them with the same information.
"This is a last resort type of issue, where if you see an animal or a person that you suspect may be in imminent danger, there are steps for you to follow to take charge and be that good Samaritan, and the state of Colorado will back you up,” sad Lori Saine (R-Firestone), who brought the bill to the legislature.