RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
A Chesterfield mom who inspired a new state law became the first person in the Commonwealth to take advantage of it. JP's Law went into effect July 1 and allows people with autism or intellectual disabilities to get a medical indicator stamped onto their state ID or driver's license.
Mines helped create the law, which is named after her son, who has autism. She said the goal is to protect people and enhance their lives. "My son, he's a wanderer. If something happened and he had that and we're able to teach him to have a wallet and have his id, when law enforcement pulls that out they will see it," Mines said.
On Monday, Mines became the first person in Virginia to sign her son up for an identification card. "This is huge because I think that we broke through some stereotypes because so many people did not know that individuals with autism or intellectual disabilities even drove," Mines said.
Law enforcement said these new medical indicators will help officers when they are interacting with people who have intellectual disabilities. Sgt Tim Sutton with the Hanover County Sheriff's Office said, "Across the world there are officers that are having interactions with individuals on the autism spectrum and other special needs and not by the fault of the officer, but the situations are going south. With that indicator, once we walk up and see that and get their information we may need to go back and turn those blue lights off or turn the radios down so we're not over-stimulating that person."
People interested in signing up should visit a local DMV and bring a doctor's note stating the person's diagnosis along with other necessary documents.