Life is difficult as a teenager. Young people struggle to find who they are in this day and age. There are many different perspectives about the best way to raise high school kids. As criminal defense lawyers in Douglas, Adams, and Arapahoe County, we want to offer you insight which has come from over 20 years in criminal law: Teenagers don't like to be treated like criminals. One high school, Highlands Ranch High School, is doing just that – treating their student like criminals. They are requiring that students take a breathalyzer test before entering their homecoming dance. Everyone, teenagers especially, like to be treated with trust as they begin making their own decisions. Let's dig deeper into why we think breathalyzing students is a bad idea.
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Breathalyzer Tests Treat Kids Like Criminals
The Highlands Ranch High School sent out a letter to parents, letting them know they were conducting the mandatory breathalyzer tests because “underage drinking is illegal, disruptive to school events, and we are fearful that at some point it could impact safety of all students who attend a dance. While we believe that the problem is limited in scope, and that the vast majority of HRHS students do not engage in this behavior, we have decided to administer a passive breathalyzer test to every student who attends future dances.” There are a few reasons we take issue with this stance:
Treated Like Criminals
There is nothing “passive” about assuming that kids have been drinking. Breathalyzer tests should be reserved for testing individuals who have been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI or DWAI).
Infringes on Rights of Innocent
Forcing all students to partake in the test because of the “limited” number of students who have problems with drinking is unfair and infringes on student's rights. This unjust approach is “one-size-fits all,” and should not be tolerated.
Done in the Name of “Safety”
Taking away people's rights always starts small. Even though the breathalyzer testing is being done to “create a safe, good environment for kids,” it is still infringing on teenager's privacy rights. Perhaps a dance boycott is in order.
The Problem with Breathalyzer Tests
Breathalyzer tests aren't always accurate. Differing body temperatures and each person's tolerance for alcohol aren't considered. Even less accurate are the Portable Breath Test (PBT) machines used in roadside tests in Denver, El Paso, and Jefferson County. In fact, the Highlands Ranch High School isn't even using either of these two testing tools. Instead, students are required to blow into a “cone” a few feet away. This is even less accurate than the less-than-accurate Intoxilyzer and PBT machines.
Why You (and Your Kids) Need a Lawyer
When things like inaccurate breathalyzer tests are made mandatory, it creates a serious situation for kids and their parents. Let's say your kid's breath test comes back positive? They'll be embarrassed at school, and they'll feel guilty immediately. These tests are wildly inaccurate, so they could have received a false positive. These kinds of things happen when the government creates mandatory rules to “keep people safe.” If you or your kids have been charged with a crime such as Minor in Possession of Alcohol, don't hesitate to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to fight on your behalf in court.
Get Help Now
If you or your child has been charged with a crime, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880. If you or a friend needs a jail visit from an attorney, we can do that. Together, we will protect your future.Request a Free Consultation