Police Department

Posted on: August 29, 2017

New Law for Breaking the Window of a Locked Vehicle to Render Aid

A tight shot of tempered glass shattered

On August 9, a new Colorado law went into effect that made it legal to break a window to free a human or animal locked inside a vehicle. This law was passed to save the lives of at-risk humans and animals.

It’s important that everyone understands this law and what must occur before a window is broken. We want to ensure that everyone is safe and that the rescuer is safe from criminal prosecution and isn't liable for the cost of the broken window. If all of the steps below aren’t followed, the person that forced entry to the vehicle does not have immunity protection under this new law.

We had an individual break the glass on a vehicle to free an animal, but didn’t follow the steps required by the new law. If the car owner had wanted to press charges, the individual would have been charged with Criminal Mischief.

Steps necessary to qualify for immunity, all of these MUST be true:

1. The person needs to be in an at-risk category
a. At-Risk Adult
b. At-Risk Adult with Intellectual or Developmental Disability
c. At-Risk Elder
d. At-Risk Juvenile

2. The person or animal is in Imminent danger of death or suffering serious bodily injury.

3. The vehicle is checked and is locked and forcible entry is necessary.

4. A reasonable effort has been made to locate the owner/operator of the vehicle.

5. 911 is notified PRIOR to forcibly entering vehicle and you must follow instructions by 911.

6. Force to enter the vehicle must be reasonable.

7. Must remain with the vehicle until the first responder arrives.

Thank you for keeping each other safe and for following the steps outlined above.

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