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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Can the Police Administer a Breathalyzer to a Minor Without a Parent's Presence

    My question involves juvenile law in the State of: Indiana

    I am a counselor at a Juvenile Detention Center in LaPorte County and writing a grant to purchase breathalyzers to use with the juveniles that come to the center under the influence. We have a very specific protocol to follow to ensure the safety of the juvenile while in our custody. My question is this: I heard from a police officer that they are not allowed to breathalyze a youth without the parents permission because it is now against the law. I have looked everywhere trying to find where it says that and I can't anything concreet. I know in Michigan the State court of appeals upheld a ruling stating that they can not be done so now they just use other observational tools. For the center though we need to know the actual reading because our protocol goes by their reading. Is there anything in Indiana prohibiting their use?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Can the Police Administer a Breathalyzer to a Minor Without a Parent's Presence

    In Michigan, from what I can find, this is when a juvenile, that is not driving, can be given a breath test:
    According to the new policy, a minor under the age of 21 who is not driving cannot be given a breath test unless it is authorized by a search warrant or court order; the minor consents to take the breath test; or police receive consent from a parent or guardian.
    In just a bit of reading, it appears the federal courts have supported that position. Although MI and IN are in different federal districts so the ruling in one is not directly applicable to the other, I would suggest it is still likely the 7th disctrict would see it similarly to the 6th district. If your policy as is is challenged, if it goes to the federal level, I would expect your policy to get shot down.

    In other reading, I get the impression it is not allowed without the same PC or permission MI requires.

    Sounds like you need to have a judge on speed dial.

    The only possibility I might suggest is if the BAC is not, in any way, available for prosecution of any crime but is required for a medical evaluation, it might be able to be incorporated. In such a situation it may not be a search under the 4th but necessary medical information required to provide proper treatment of the juvenile. I don't have the answer to that though.

    this is off the topic but I happen to know where Laporte County Indiana is. I also know there is a college in the next county over (Valparaiso) with a law school (Valparaiso U). You might want to develop a contact at that school where you might be able to get some guidance for various questions you might have.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Can the Police Administer a Breathalyzer to a Minor Without a Parent's Presence

    There is a difference between what the police can do in the field and what you can do in a detention center. I cannot imagine for one moment that you would NOT be permitted to require a breath test to a juvenile in your care and custody as he is your responsibility AND he has no expectation of privacy in custody.

    if you want the safe answer as to whether you are permitted to do this or not, consult your policy and procedure manual or a supervisor.
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ...

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