Bill Would Protect People Who Must Use Force to Protect Themselves, says Rep. Jim Lucas
STATEWIDE--Protecting people who have to use force to protect themselves is the purpose of a proposed bill making its way through the Indiana legislature.
State Representative Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), one of the sponsors of the bill, says HB 1284 is yet another way to support Hoosiers and their safety.
"Basically it's a Good Samaritan Protection Act. In Indiana, we currently have very strong protections in the case of criminal use of force as it pertains to self-defense, but we don't have those same protections on the civil side," Lucas said.
If passed, the bill would protect those who may have caused damage or injury while defending themselves against someone who was trying to commit a felony or someone trying to physically hurt another person.
Lucas believes the law should protect those who fight back.
"The people that will benefit from this legislation are all Hoosiers that are put in the horrible position of having to protect themselves or others in the case of a use of force situation," Lucas said.
He says the bill will also aim to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
"Now the plaintiff still has the ability to take their case to court, but they would have a much higher hurdle to meet for a situation when the use of force has been determined justified by the local prosecutor or the court system," Lucas said.
HB 1284 also requires the courts to award reasonable attorney fees to a defendant when they're claiming justified use of force in a civil lawsuit.
The bill was heard in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee March 4. It gets its next hearing March 20.