Hashim files bill to address vehicle entry loophole

DUMMERSTON — Under Vermont law, it is not explicitly illegal for someone to enter another person's vehicle, as long as nothing is disturbed or damaged.

State Rep. Nader Hashim, D-Dummerston, is working on legislation to close that loophole.

“I've introduced a bill related to making it unlawful for a person to enter another person's vehicle without their permission. It will come to my committee (judiciary), where there is generally support for it,” Hashim reported on the Brattleboro, Vermont Facebook group on Jan. 31.

In announcing work on the legislation, he said that “it is not unreasonable to independently believe that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy for their own vehicle against strangers randomly entering them.”

Legislative attorneys are writing the text of the bill, Hashim told The Commons on Tuesday.

Hashim, a former trooper with the Vermont State Police, acknowledged that the legislation won't be a “panacea for the uptick in car break-ins,” but he said that it would be a tool for law enforcement in investigating such incidents.

He said he learned about the issue in his training at the police academy, but he said the recent car break-ins in Brattleboro “were the catalyzing factor that caused me to expedite getting this bill into drafting.”

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