PDA

View Full Version : how responsive is today's law?


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


silverdrake3
June 16th, 2007, 04:06 AM
I post this here because, well, I really can't find any "cop code" on what generally will get your butt in jail and what will get you a warning.

Specifically, I want to know what would happen to a young woman, about six months from her 21st birthday, who was found with alcohol poisoning and taken to a hospital. I'm quite sure the police would get involved fairly quickly.

So far, I've got evidence on what the doctors would do, but not the police. Sure would be nice if I had a cop for a friend.

Oh, and for those who are curious, this is for my first genuine attempt at a science fiction/fantasy novel. I'm going to bridge the gap between imagination and reality! BWAHAHAHAHA-coughhackcough

Holbrook
June 16th, 2007, 04:55 AM
Depends in which country you are setting the story.


In the UK nothing would happen(police wise, if she was just found drunk, behaving in a disorderly manner is another thing all together) as the age at which you can legally drink is 18.

James Carmack
June 16th, 2007, 05:56 AM
It also depends on how closely the hospital staff adheres to the letter of the law. If the police weren't involved with bringing in our protagonist, it's entirely possible that whoever treats her would be willing to overlook certain inconvenient details. Kinda fits in with the where. As the 21 comment pretty much restricts you to the States, let's get a little more specific. What part of the country? Big city? Small town? These sort of factors play a role in how things are done. Obviously, the biggest part is played by the individuals themselves.

Beyond that, how the police act also depends on where and who. If it's a first offense, they might just want to spook her with a good night in lockup. Underage drinking isn't that serious of an offense. Now, whoever supplied the alcohol might get a good raking over the coals. Alternatively, if she driving under the influence, they can nail you for that in varying degrees of severity. If she got into an accident, especially if there's wounded or dead, then she's in it pretty deep. Once again, the degree of punishment is highly variable, even in the same place. Some people get off easy, some don't. Money helps. ^_^

silverdrake3
June 16th, 2007, 06:02 AM
It also depends on how closely the hospital staff adheres to the letter of the law. If the police weren't involved with bringing in our protagonist, it's entirely possible that whoever treats her would be willing to overlook certain inconvenient details. Kinda fits in with the where. As the 21 comment pretty much restricts you to the States, let's get a little more specific. What part of the country? Big city? Small town? These sort of factors play a role in how things are done. Obviously, the biggest part is played by the individuals themselves.

Beyond that, how the police act also depends on where and who. If it's a first offense, they might just want to spook her with a good night in lockup. Underage drinking isn't that serious of an offense. Now, whoever supplied the alcohol might get a good raking over the coals. Alternatively, if she driving under the influence, they can nail you for that in varying degrees of severity. If she got into an accident, especially if there's wounded or dead, then she's in it pretty deep. Once again, the degree of punishment is highly variable, even in the same place. Some people get off easy, some don't. Money helps. ^_^

Sorry, I guess I should have been more specific.

She's a new resident in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the liquor laws are a little stricter than normal. She was supplied with alcohol at a party a few blocks away from her apartment. She does not know the host personally, but the young (legal) woman who brought her there does know him.

I haven't decided who finds her, but I know her location would be at a park adjacent to the apartment complex. At no point was she driving under the influence.

The situation that brought her unconscious in the grass was quite fantastic, though, so they might just find her with no trace of alcohol ;)

P.S. In no way is she rich, hehe.

KatG
June 16th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Ask cops in Utah. There are probably a few sites online that give info about various laws and cop procedure, possibly even to email questions to cops. But the easiest thing to do is to contact Utah police, preferrably the PR or civilian relations department, tell them you're researching a book and ask if they can tell you or refer you to someone who could give you the answer. Mystery writers do it all the time. The cops generally prefer you to get it right and not make them look like idiots, so you can usually find someone to help you out with info.

silverdrake3
June 16th, 2007, 01:00 PM
Really. I didn't know that you can call them up for research.

Well, I guess it's time to grab my phone!

KatG
June 17th, 2007, 01:06 PM
Well don't call 911 with it, obviously. What you want is a public relations or citizen contact office or the people who send out the cops to the classrooms for presentations and such. Also, canvas your network of friends. Odds are, one of them may know or be related to a cop. I have an author friend who swears by that theory that you can find the person you need within six people (that six degrees of separation thing.)

silverdrake3
June 17th, 2007, 05:31 PM
What I'm trying at the moment is sending emails to the local PD's. I've only found live emails for three of them, but none of them have replied. If they don't respond in a few days I might try their non-emergency lines.

And as for that six-degrees, my boyfriend's mother actually has a relative who used to be a policeman. That's three degrees. I might try him too.

Thanks for the advise! I'm liking this community already ^.^

choppy
June 18th, 2007, 01:27 PM
Hi Silverdrake3,

I've had some experience policing a university community. For what it's worth, I would say that in general, police won't be looking to charge a minor who has alcohol poisoning. Their primary concern is for the health and safety of the person in question. So they would need to make sure the person receives any necessary medical attention, and that parents are informed. Then, they would be concerned about the means by which the person got into this state - ie. they would seek to shut down the party.

Often, an intoxicated person can be arrested however. In Alberta, for example, public intoxication is an arrestable offence defined by a provincial statute. The subject will be brought into custody, held and supervised until such time as they are sober. This alone, rarely results in any further charges, and does not lead to a criminal record.

In your case, as I understand (reading between the lines a little) a minor has been found unconscious with alcohol poisoning and brought to the hospital. Police might be called in if she didn't regain consciousness and someone needed to track down her parents/family. Or, they might be called if the circumstances suggested a more serious offence had occured such as an assualt, robery, or sexual assault.

All this being said, remember it's your story. The police will do what you want them to.