Effective July 1 a new law in Indiana has become available that is vital knowledge for any parent of children exposed to alcohol related activities. The significance of this law labeled the “Lifeline Law” is that it can enable a minor child the ability to shield himself or herself for criminal prosecution from alcohol related charges if coming to the aid of another suffering from a health related emergency.
A constant problem in the reporting of alcohol or other related injuries by minors consuming alcohol or attending parties where alcohol is being consumed has been the real fear that to contact the police or 911 on behalf of a friend or individual who has become harmed within the minor’s presence is to subject the minor to criminal liability. The Lifeline Law is one law that is rational and needed to allow those minors who may have been consuming alcohol the ability to look out for the health interests of one in need as opposed to the self interest of a minor trying to preserve a clean record and future employment and/or educational opportunities.
In its simplest form the law provides immunity against underage alcohol related arrest and criminal charges for those minors who remain at the location of one who has suffered a medical emergency. Thereafter, it is required that individuals remain by the side of a person in distress and contact 911 in order to solicit immediate medical attention to receive the full immunity from prosecution.
Of course how the future application of this law develops and is interpreted by way of covered offenses for which immunity will apply is always open to question. However, this law is a step in the right direction in allowing children the ability to follow their hearts and not their heads in doing the right thing for fellow citizens who may be in need of emergency attention. I have no doubt that this is one law that is sure to save lives both now and in the future and is an uncommon occasion where I can truly applaud the work of the Indiana general assembly in passing a law whose time has come.
For all questions owi related, please call me, Attorney Gregg J. Stark, at any time should further questions arise as to enactment and application of the lifeline law or any other legal issue that may affect you.