WEST PALM BEACH, FL / ACCESSWIRE / April 7, 2016 / The Florida Legislature passed a new law that allows Good Samaritans to forcefully enter any unattended motor vehicle without civil liability, if they reasonably believe the vehicle is locked and any vulnerable person or any domestic animal is in danger, reports West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Andrew Stine. Under this new Florida law, the "vulnerable person" definition is tied to the same meaning in Florida General Statue 435.02. Under Fla. Gen. Stat. 435.02 "vulnerable person" basically means a "minor child." Domestic animal under the new statute is defined as any animal that may be kept as a household pet, but does not include livestock or any other farm animal.
Knowing that the new Florida law provides immunity from civil liability for the Good Samaritan, who forcefully enters another's vehicle to remove a vulnerable person or pet sounds cut and dry, but there is much more to the law. First, the Good Samaritan must determine the vehicle is locked and there are no other ways to reasonably enter the vehicle before he or she takes matters into their own hands. Second, a good faith belief must exist in the Good Samaritan to enter the vehicle to prevent the vulnerable person or domestic animal from imminent harm. Third, the Good Samaritan "must" have contacted 911 or law enforcement before smashing out the window or entering the vehicle. Lastly, the Good Faith Samaritan must stay with the vulnerable person or domestic animal or in a safe location in close proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement officials arrive.
So before you take the law into your own hands to rescue a vulnerable person or a domestic person know the Florida law. If you or a loved one has been arrested for the crime of breaking into a vehicle or animal cruelty, when in fact all you were doing was saving a vulnerable person or domestic animal contact West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine. Attorney Andrew D. Stine has been defending people of Palm Beach County for over a decade that have been charged with animal related crimes. Call 561-880-4300 24/7. Hire Stine or Do the Time!
SOURCE: Andrew D. Stine, P.A.