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Hot Car Rescue Laws

Armando Nava

In March of 2018, a Phoenix father made headlines for being sentenced to three years in prison for leaving his two-year old son to die in a hot car in 2015. It was in 2017 that Governor Doug Ducey passed House Bill 2494 which allows individuals to use reasonable force to break into a car if they have good reason to believe the minor or pet inside is in imminent danger.

Despite this law, citizens may still be hesitant to break into a car. They may ask themselves, “What if the parent or owner comes back? What if the air conditioning is on?” Every minute the child or animal is inside the vehicle counts, though.

Here’s how you can legally break into a car to rescue a child or pet:

  1. Have a reason to believe the child or pet in the hot car is in imminent danger of death or serious injury. If the child inside is old enough, try to communicate with him or her. Regardless of age, anyone showing signs of heat exhaustion would reasonably be considered in imminent danger.
  2. Make sure the car is actually locked. If you can stage your rescue operation without breaking a window, do that. Don’t use more force than necessary to access the children or animals inside.
  3. Call the police before you take action. Calling the police before breaking in not only provides the child or animal with medical attention they may require, but keeps the peace when/if the vehicle owner arrives. After rescuing the child or pet, stay with them until authorities arrive.

If you’ve been charged with a crime, car break-in or otherwise, it’s important to have a lawyer on your side. At Nava Law, our expert criminal defense team looks at every factor surrounding your case and fight for the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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