A domestic violence related bill sponsored by Attorney
General Jim Hood has been signed into law. Gov. Haley Barbour signed
SB 2426, which makes it a misdemeanor for someone to prevent a victim
from seeking emergency medical or law enforcement assistance. The
maximum fine is $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.
Attorney General Hood stated, "Although the law is not specific to
domestic violence, this type of interference often occurs when the
offender refuses to allow the victim to seek medical attention for
treatment of injuries or yanks the phone cord out of the wall or tears
up the cell phone to prevent the victim from calling 911 for help."
General Hood continued, "This also occurs in non-domestic offense as
well - such as a car-jacking or a burglary in which the victim is
prevented from seeking assistance."
For these type situations, this bill now gives law enforcement officers
more options as far as charging. An offender can now be charged with
the underlying criminal offense and for preventing the person from
seeking assistance. This could even apply to a third party who did not
inflict any injury, but who prevents the victim from seeking assistance.
Senator David Blount authored the bill. It goes into effect July 1.