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Excise police and their limits?

Food?Food? Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
My school (Indiana University) has a police program where officers dress undercover and try to ticket (mostly) underage drinkers. This isn't a major concern to me, as I don't tend to drink in public. However, I was wondering how legal what they're doing is. I was under the impression that only an officer in full uniform can a) ask to see ID, b) breathalyze you, and c) write you a drinking ticket. The excise police seem to do all that, but I'm not sure if they're actually allowed to or if they just get away with it because they're usually writing tickets to drunk kids who don't know how the system works. Any thoughts?

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    DrakmathusDrakmathus Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I imagine you can refuse this test but you will be escorted off campus and/or given academic punishment.

    Drakmathus on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Are these police officers, campus security officers, or both?

    Odds are, when you sign a residential housing agreement, you agree to let them do this. That doesn't mean it's necessarily legal, just that it'd be a bitch to fight. You can always call the Indiana ACLU and ask.

    Thanatos on
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    iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Cornfield? Cornfield.Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    This is actually the "Indiana Excise Police" or that's what they said when we saw them wandering around at Purdue University in W. Lafayette, IN. They are (from my understanding) actually a division of the State Police and they can really do just about anything they want to. They don't have to tell you who they are even if you ask at the door before allowing them in.

    I really don't know how it works, and if anyone does ask the Indiana ACLU or another organization that would know I would be very interested in finding out who they're actually with and what they can/cannot do.

    iTunesIsEvil on
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    XaiberDXaiberD Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    If they're actually police officers, and on duty, then yes, they can. It's like getting pulled over by an undercover/unmarked car. They don't have to be wearing a uniform, they do have to be on duty though.

    Are they actually breathalyzing people? I was under the impression that only the driver of a motor vehicle (boat, car, bus, etc) could be breathalyzed. For the most part, in Canada at least, if you just admit to being underaged, and inebriated, so long as you're heading into a house or something instead of just wandering the streets drunk, then the police will just give you a warning. I've only ever seen the people who are all "You can't do this, I took a high school law class!" get ticketed. But that may just be the police in my area.

    I don't think it's illegal for them to ticket you, but I think breathalyzing is a little far.

    XaiberD on
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    EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Most states/counties have laws against being drunk in public, so they can certainly ticket you if wandering about inebriated. Same for being in a house. If you're underage and drinking on the property and get busted, they can use that to prove you've been drinking, etc.

    I don't know about the specifics for Indiana on campuses however. I know at my University in NJ, the campus police were a division of the local county police, but there were specific rules and regulations in regards to school grounds. So they were "real" cops, but they had more (and some times less) authority than a normal cop while dealing with situations on campus.

    EclecticGroove on
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    supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    In most states you can be nailed for a variety of charges involving public drinking but those laws are rarely enforced. We went through something similar in Virginia a few years ago—a few bars and Hooters locations were getting way to rowdy and putting a lot of drunks on the road, so cops started arresting guys as soon as they walked out the door. The bar owners didn’t get the message. Then the cops got nasty and started letting guys behind the wheel and busted the guys for DWI in the parking lot. The bar owners still didn’t get the message, so the cops started walking in and arresting guys right there in the bars. That finally convinced the bar owners to start cutting people off and keeping rowdy customers in line.

    supabeast on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    If it's anything like alabama, then university police are actually "technically" higher ranking then city police. They are deputized by the state, and are 100% official. It's crappy, but as long as they aren't offering you the alcohol or convincing you to step outside of the bar or apartment it's not entrapment or anything like that. ::shrug:: you might have rights under the freedom of information act to request the common locations or even description of the off duty attire, but I doubt it. Good luck though.

    amateurhour on
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    SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    supabeast wrote: »
    The bar owners still didn’t get the message, so the cops started walking in and arresting guys right there in the bars.

    We had a brief period of this in Texas, mostly Austin and Dallas I think. I don't remember how many of the people being arrested were rowdy, but there was at least one instance of a person in a hotel bar, who was staying there, and I don't think they were rowdy, that got arrested. Needless to say, people got really pissed about this and it was stopped.

    Septus on
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    WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    XaiberD wrote: »
    If they're actually police officers, and on duty, then yes, they can. It's like getting pulled over by an undercover/unmarked car. They don't have to be wearing a uniform, they do have to be on duty though.

    Are they actually breathalyzing people? I was under the impression that only the driver of a motor vehicle (boat, car, bus, etc) could be breathalyzed. For the most part, in Canada at least, if you just admit to being underaged, and inebriated, so long as you're heading into a house or something instead of just wandering the streets drunk, then the police will just give you a warning. I've only ever seen the people who are all "You can't do this, I took a high school law class!" get ticketed. But that may just be the police in my area.

    I don't think it's illegal for them to ticket you, but I think breathalyzing is a little far.

    Just a quick point, but the rules are VERY different on a university campus. My Canadian university (UWO) has a 0 tolerance policy on underage drinking/public drunkenness (it still happens a ton, but if you become obvious you're definately gonna get a ticket.

    Also, I always had to wonder how they're allowed to breathalyze a drunk person. Cause (at least as I understand it, in Canada) police aren't allowed to take any information/permissions you give them while under the influence. Which would mean permission to take the breathalyzer test would then have to be ignored if they found out you were drunk, making their evidence useless in court.

    Wezoin on
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    archonwarparchonwarp Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Wezoin wrote: »
    XaiberD wrote: »
    If they're actually police officers, and on duty, then yes, they can. It's like getting pulled over by an undercover/unmarked car. They don't have to be wearing a uniform, they do have to be on duty though.

    Are they actually breathalyzing people? I was under the impression that only the driver of a motor vehicle (boat, car, bus, etc) could be breathalyzed. For the most part, in Canada at least, if you just admit to being underaged, and inebriated, so long as you're heading into a house or something instead of just wandering the streets drunk, then the police will just give you a warning. I've only ever seen the people who are all "You can't do this, I took a high school law class!" get ticketed. But that may just be the police in my area.

    I don't think it's illegal for them to ticket you, but I think breathalyzing is a little far.

    Just a quick point, but the rules are VERY different on a university campus. My Canadian university (UWO) has a 0 tolerance policy on underage drinking/public drunkenness (it still happens a ton, but if you become obvious you're definately gonna get a ticket.

    Also, I always had to wonder how they're allowed to breathalyze a drunk person. Cause (at least as I understand it, in Canada) police aren't allowed to take any information/permissions you give them while under the influence. Which would mean permission to take the breathalyzer test would then have to be ignored if they found out you were drunk, making their evidence useless in court.


    It's funny how the "being intoxicated" thing can be used against you both ways (for example, I was raped-- I was intoxicated and consented to sex! or in the case you described). Odds are that if a state institution is doing this, it's probably legal, or legal enough that you're wasting time trying to fight it.

    archonwarp on
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    DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    As far as I know, and I am not a lawyer...

    In Australia, they cannot enter the premises without a warrant, or permission.

    Even if the policeman is at the door, and sees underaged drunkenness going on behind the parents back, if the parent/owner of the house does not let them inside, they can't do anything until they come back with a warrant, and I imagine very few judges would issue one, and by the time they got back with a warrant everone would be sober again.

    And no, you can't be breathalysed unless you're operating a vehicle that has a legal alcohol limit.

    Dhalphir on
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    Food?Food? Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    To clear some things up (sorry it took so long):

    The excise police are a part of the actual police force, as far as I know. The only difference is that they wear normal clothing to blend in.

    What they seem to do it walk around "hot spots" and try to nab people that look under 21. There are two main incidents where they get people all the time. The first is at tailgating, and the second is outside the dorms during weekend nights. If you look under 21 and are holding either a party cup or any sort of alcoholic beverage, or appear to be drunk, they approach you, show their badge, and ask to see ID. If you're under 21, boom, you get a ticket This happened to a person I know, and the guy even breathalyzed him (however, he made no such record of it on the ticket he wrote, which leads me to believe he can't actually do that).

    I don't live in the dorms, so I don't know if there's any sort of residential housing agreement that dealt with this.

    I'm not questioning the legality of underage drinking. I'm just questioning the methods the police use. To me, this whole excise thing seems like a dirty, desperate way to write more tickets.

    Food? on
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    archonwarparchonwarp Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Food? wrote: »
    To clear some things up (sorry it took so long):

    The excise police are a part of the actual police force, as far as I know. The only difference is that they wear normal clothing to blend in.

    What they seem to do it walk around "hot spots" and try to nab people that look under 21. There are two main incidents where they get people all the time. The first is at tailgating, and the second is outside the dorms during weekend nights. If you look under 21 and are holding either a party cup or any sort of alcoholic beverage, or appear to be drunk, they approach you, show their badge, and ask to see ID. If you're under 21, boom, you get a ticket This happened to a person I know, and the guy even breathalyzed him (however, he made no such record of it on the ticket he wrote, which leads me to believe he can't actually do that).

    I don't live in the dorms, so I don't know if there's any sort of residential housing agreement that dealt with this.

    I'm not questioning the legality of underage drinking. I'm just questioning the methods the police use. To me, this whole excise thing seems like a dirty, desperate way to write more tickets.


    I'm not sure about where you live, but I know that in Ohio you aren't required to show ID unless you are behind the wheel of a car with a key in it. You can simply say your name and address, and that's all they can ask you for. People are typically just scared of police authority, which is ridiculous, and give in. Might want to look into that as far as your state goes and whether or not they're forcing people to show ID... *Papers Please*

    archonwarp on
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    Food?Food? Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Yeah, the ID thing is confusing. The kid I know that got ticketed told the officer that he didn't have his ID on him. The officer then grabbed the rear pockets of his shorts and asked him to pull his wallet out so he could look in it.

    Food? on
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