Confronting legal issues in underage drinking from the cop to the court
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Confronting Legal Issues in Underage Drinking: From the Cop to the Court. Alex Huskey Linda L. Chezem. Overview: . Critical Information Loop Determining Probable Cause for the Stop Determining Age of the Suspect Parent Notification Separation of under 18 years old from adults

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Confronting Legal Issues in Underage Drinking: From the Cop to the Court.

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Confronting Legal Issues in Underage Drinking: From the Cop to the Court.

Alex Huskey

Linda L. Chezem


  • Critical Information Loop

  • Determining Probable Cause for the Stop

  • Determining Age of the Suspect

    • Parent Notification

    • Separation of under 18 years old from adults

  • Admissibility of Test Results

  • Court Decision

  • Monitoring of the Youth’s Behavior

Who Should be in the Critical Information Loop?

  • Law Enforcement

  • Prosecutors

  • Judges

  • Probation, Monitoring Staff

  • Parents

  • Community

  • Policy makers

Knowledge- The Best Ingredient for a Prevention Program

  • Do you know what record keeping systems can be accessed to gain data regarding underaged drinking?

  • What are some age specific barriers to enforcing the underage drinking laws?

  • Do you know what is adequate factual basis for probable cause for a stop? (Looking young is not the right answer.)

  • What are practical steps that can be taken to improve the information loops between cops, courts and communities?

Do you know what your courts do?

  • More than 20,000 Courts in US have jurisdiction over alcohol related cases.

  • Fewer than 2300 drug courts in US






Drug Courts





Alcohol is

in the Court Room

What is “critical information”?

  • Legal Information

    • US Constitution

    • State Constitution

    • Statutes, regulations, and case law

    • How many arrests?

    • Dispositions – at what point in the system?

    • What are the terms?

  • Community Information

    • Level of offenses related to underage drinking

    • Who are the offenders?

    • Where –geographically?

    • What settings?

    • How are the laws enforced ?

    • How many arrests?

    • Dispositions

Probable Cause

  • U.S. Constitution -4th Amendment

  • State Constitutions

  • Simple Definition-that the law enforcement officer saw, or heard or though some sensory ability or received reliable information that the suspect was violating a law. Officer has to state enough facts to convince a judge to find probable cause if challenged.

Age of Suspect is a Critical Fact

  • Under or over 21 years of age determines which charge might be filed.

  • Some adults do not understand that they have greater exposure to charges than a juvenile has.

  • Juvenile or adult makes a difference in where and how a person may be taken into custody.

  • Parents have to be located and notified for juveniles

Admissibility of Test Results

  • Is approval of testing device by a state toxicologist required?

  • Are there requirements for training and certification of officer?

  • What are the calibration and maintenance protocol for the testing instrument?

  • How are sample or test results preserved?

Court Decision

  • Information ( testimony can be given by other witnesses) from the police officer is needed for each essential element of the alleged offense to obtain conviction.

  • Courts’ decisions need to be placed in the information loop in a timely manner.

  • Courts’ decisions can help shape agenda of the stakeholders and policy makers.

Is Probation included in the loop?

  • Important that all understand underage drinking effects on juveniles and adults under probation supervision.

  • What support/resources does probation need to manage the relationship of underage drinking to the juvenile’s successful completion of probation period?

Monitoring Youth Behavior Probation and More Than

  • Information loop is critical element of preventing underage drinking…

  • Each justice system component owns some piece of the puzzle.

  • Parents and community need to be informed and they need to –in turn – inform policy and justice system responses.

  • Underage drinking law is not about throwing kids away; it is about helping them become adults who are our friends and relatives. Someday, they will be the ones pulling you over.

Universal Message for Alcohol Use Across The Lifespan

Col. Evan Hoapili USAF (ret.), Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Indiana State Excise Police : closing the information loop

  • Alcohol & Tobacco Commission

  • Excise Police are the law enforcement division of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission

  • Indiana law states that they are

  • To protect the economic welfare, health, peace, and morals of the people of this state

  • To regulate and limit the manufacture, sale, possession, and use of alcohol and alcoholic beverages

  • To regulate the sale, possession, and distribution of tobacco products 

  • To provide for the raising of revenue

  • State Excise police officers statement:

    • We are dedicated to the harmonious growth of our community, through a determined and cooperative partnership. 

    • We strive to help our fellow Hoosiers make Indiana a better place to live through education, enforcement and community preservation

Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission

  • Regulates the alcoholic beverage & tobacco industry

  • Issues licenses for premises within Indiana~ 13,000 permit premises

    ~ 8,300 tobacco certificates

    ~ 135,000 licensed servers

  • Provides for raising of revenue

Excise Police

  • Full police powers

  • Enforcement emphasis on Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco laws

  • Work plain clothes and uniform details

  • Officers do have authority to enforce traffic code

Excise Police-Cont

  • 6 District Offices

  • 90 Officers (85 Currently)

  • Not a calls for service agency

  • Complaints received from many sources ~ disgruntled patrons ~ recently fired employee ~ parents ~ local law enforcement

E Citation and Warning System

  • Eliminates handwritten tickets  and the need to enter the same information into a separate database(s)

  • Enhances safety of Hoosier streets and highways by identifying dangerous criminals

  • Eliminates duplicate entries by law enforcement, courts, clerks, and BMV

  • Increases accuracy of information—data fields pre-populated from license and registration

  • Gives officers more time to work in the field by reducing paperwork

  • Saves clerical time for clerks, courts and agencies because data is transferred electronically

  • Improves timeliness by making data available electronically 

E Citation and Warning System - Continued

  • eCWS will, in the future, also transfer the required data fields to a probable cause affidavit form for officers to complete in cases of serious criminal violations. 

Data Sharing

Thank you!

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