There is a growing legislative trend happening throughout our country, one that Indiana is embracing. It is called ‘lifeline legislation’. This new, life-saving initiative was recently signed into law by Governor Daniels and will provide immunity from criminal prosecution when helping a fellow student or Hoosier who needs medical assistance due to alcohol consumption.
Lives are being lost from fear of prosecution in alcohol-related situations. The Indiana Lifeline Law will help address this major concern by providing immunity for crimes of public intoxication, minor possession, consumption and transportation of alcohol for individuals who reveal themselves to law enforcement while seeking medical assistance for a person suffering from an alcohol related emergency.
This law provides Hoosiers with a safety net to reach out for help in these instances that are occurring frequently, especially on our college campuses. Many students when faced with this situation avoid calling for help because of possible legal ramifications.
This law does not interfere with the ability of law enforcement to prosecute for other criminal offences like providing to a minor, operating a vehicle while intoxicated or possession of a controlled substance. It is a tool put in place to encourage students in particular to act if they are in the presence of someone who is in need of serious medical attention.
In order to receive immunity, the person requesting medical assistance is required to remain at the scene with the victim until emergency medical assistance arrives. Furthermore, the person must cooperate with authorities to ensure that the situation is resolved.
In these situations, making one phone call can be a matter of life and death. The Indiana Lifeline Law is not put in place to promote underage drinking by any means, yet, we must address the fact that many young people fear the consequences of their actions and avoid seeking medical attention for those around them. This legislation will provide them with the assurance to call for help if they ever find themselves in this situation.
This is the type of law that will save lives and encourages Hoosiers to do the right thing when put in a difficult scenario. Students will now be able to put health and safety first and be confident that their actions will not result in legal consequences.