Can a doctor/nurse report a minor to the police if they come in drunk?

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2011

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Can a doctor/nurse report a minor to the police if they come in drunk?

Yesterday, I was at a party and I cut my hand open while I was drunk. I went to the doctor and got it all patched up. Later after drinking a substantial amount of whiskey my mother took me back to the doctor because I cut it open again when I fell. I didn’t get admitted but if I were to have gotten admitted would they have been able to/or required to call the police and report me being drunk at 17? Almost 18.

Asked on September 18, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Dakota


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you had appeared at a medical facility and had been drinking, the treating physician and/or nurse would have been required to report you to law enforcement as a minor who had been drinking alcohol.

Treating physicians and other health care practioners are required to report to law enforcement all situations involving a minor where the minor's well being is in danger with respect to a situation that he or she should not have been in.

In your situation it was the drinking of alcohol, namely, drinking a substantial amount of whiskey.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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