The Indiana Lifeline Law
What does the Indiana Lifeline Law do?
Indiana and some other states have laws that protect people under 21 from prosecution for certain alcohol-related offenses if they call for help in a medical emergency, call to report a crime, or have been the victim of a sexual assault. In order to be protected, you need to do four things to demonstrate that you’re acting in good faith:
Call for help.
Stay with the person.
What does the Indiana Lifeline Law not do?
The Lifeline Law does not grant immunity from crimes like providing alcohol to a minor, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or possessing a controlled substance. It only protects the person or group of people directly involved in caring for someone in a medical emergency.
The decision to make arrests or issue citations for other crimes is up to the officers that respond. Many real-world scenarios will involve the grey area of an officer’s or prosecutor’s discretion. Even though the protection offered by the lifeline law is not absolute, consider the alternative of not acting. A fine or arrest is a small price to pay in comparison to someone’s life.
Frequently asked questions
The Lifeline Law creates a special deferral program for people who are arrested after someone calls for help during an alcohol-related health emergency. If you haven’t been convicted of an alcohol-related offense, you might be able to enter into an agreement with the court that will result in the charges being dismissed after a time. If you want to learn more about pretrial diversion programs, please visit the Indiana Criminal Law page.
If you call for help, you can still be arrested for another crime like possession of a controlled substance. However, the Lifeline Law establishes the fact that you called as a mitigating circumstance. A prosecutor or court may take into consideration the fact that you were arrested because you called for help, reduce the severity of a charge against you, or reduce the severity of the penalty imposed.
However, the Lifeline Law allows for certain alcohol-related charges to be dismissed for people who have no prior alcohol-related convictions. These charges are the same as those that the caller has immunity from: minor possession, minor consumption, minor transport, and public intoxication.
The material in this website is for informational purposes only, and it is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice.