Law Would Give Criminal Defense for Breaking into Vehicles to Save Animals

When civilians respond to emergency situations, they often do not have the time to think about the criminal or civil consequences of their actions. For instance, you can be arrested and sued for breaking into someone’s vehicle for the purpose of saving an animal that was suffering from heat exhaustion. The animal may have been at risk of dying, but your actions qualified as criminal trespass to a vehicle and criminal damage to property. The owner of the vehicle could also file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the vehicle damage, even though he or she was negligent in leaving the animal locked in the car. Illinois lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give people an affirmative defense against criminal charges in this scenario, as well as immunity from civil liability. The Legislation Illinois law allows law enforcement and emergency services personnel to forcibly enter a vehicle in order to save a trapped animal from heat exhaustion. The proposed…

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