Detective explains legal ramifications of breaking into a car to - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Detective explains legal ramifications of breaking into a car to save a child

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Most people wouldn't think twice about breaking into a car to save a child or a pet. But could you face legal trouble if you do?

As temperatures climb into the 90s, we have seen several such cases around the country.

Tamara Bates said she witnessed that situation just a couple of weeks ago.

"I was at the beach and there was a dog in a locked car, windows up. Little small dog, cute as could be but had a sweater on, the car wasn't on or anything," said Bates.

So, what do you do if you see a child or pet in trouble?

Irondale Police Detective Michael Mangina said first and foremost call 9-1-1.

"If you really can't see the owner of that vehicle and get them there quickly to unlock I would say go ahead and break into it and save that life," said Det. Mangina.

Even though most people are not thinking about it at the time by breaking into a car charges could be made against the person who is trying to help.

"Technically, unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle is a Class C felony but for it to be charged you have to have intent to commit a felony or a theft," said Det. Mangina.

But, like most people in that situation, the only thing most people are worried about taking from the car is a child or pet.

In most cases, Det. Mangina said most people are fine under Alabama Law.

Even though most people will not face charges for breaking into a car in a case like this Mangina said the owner of the vehicle could sue for damages.

But he said in those cases it's very unlikely.

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