Law Enforcement Q&A - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Law Enforcement Q&A

Question:  When is the date for the police check on seat belts?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  Various law enforcement agencies will be conducting seat belt check points throughout the summer with a concentration around the holidays.

Question:  What is the law on trespassing on private land that is posted ?  Also, do you have to notify people personally for the trespassing signs to be in effect? 

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:   I have included the appropriate statute. In general, a trespass prosecution is much more effective with a verbal warning and request not to be on the property. It is not impossible with only a sign, but the verbal or personal written notification is much better.

IC 35-43-2-2
Criminal trespass
     Sec. 2. (a) A person who:
        (1) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally enters the real property of another person after having been denied entry by the other person or that person's agent;

        (2) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally refuses to leave the real property of another person after having been asked to leave by the other person or that person's agent;

        (3) accompanies another person in a vehicle, with knowledge that the other person knowingly or intentionally is exerting unauthorized control over the vehicle;

        (4) knowingly or intentionally interferes with the possession or use of the property of another person without the person's consent;

        (5) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally enters the dwelling of another person without the person's consent; or

        (6) knowingly or intentionally:
            (A) travels by train without lawful authority or the railroad carrier's consent; and 
            (B) rides on the outside of a train or inside a passenger car, locomotive, or freight car, including a boxcar, flatbed, or container without lawful authority or the railroad carrier's consent;commits criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class D felony if it is committed on a scientific research facility, on school property, or on a school bus or the person has a prior unrelated conviction for an offense under this section concerning the same property.

    (b) A person has been denied entry under subdivision (a)(1) of this section when the person has been denied entry by means of:

        (1) personal communication, oral or written; or
        (2) posting or exhibiting a notice at the main entrance in a manner that is either prescribed by law or likely to come to the attention of the public.

    (c) Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply to the following:
        (1) A passenger on a train.
        (2) An employee of a railroad carrier while engaged in the performance of official duties.
        (3) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency response personnel while engaged in the performance of official duties.

        (4) A person going on railroad property in an emergency to rescue a person or animal from harm's way or to remove an object that the person reasonably believes poses an imminent threat to life or limb.

        (5) A person on the station grounds or in the depot of a railroad carrier:
            (A) as a passenger; or
            (B) for the purpose of transacting lawful business.
        (6) A:
            (A) person; or
            (B) person's:
                (i) family member;
                (ii) invitee;
                (iii) employee;
                (iv) agent; or
                (v) independent contractor;
        going on a railroad's right-of-way for the purpose of crossing at a private crossing site approved by the railroad carrier to obtain access to land that the person owns, leases, or operates.

        (7) A person having written permission from the railroad carrier to go on specified railroad property.
        (8) A representative of the Indiana department of transportation while engaged in the performance of official duties.

        (9) A representative of the federal Railroad Administration while engaged in the performance of official duties.

        (10) A representative of the National Transportation Safety Board while engaged in the performance of official duties.

As added by Acts 1976, P.L.148, SEC.3. Amended by Acts 1977,

Question:  Where can I log on to a list of sex offenders in Mt.Vernon, In.?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  I am not sure if the Posey County Sheriff's Office maintains a specific county level sex offender web site. However, if you go to www.vanderburghsheriff.com, there is a link to the Indiana Sheriff's Association site where all county sheriff's report the local offenders form their jurisdictions.

Question:  Are you allowed to drive recreational vehicles such as 4-wheelers & dirt bikes in a sub-division? If you are not allowed to do so, what proceedure should you take if someone is?  There are alot of little kids in my neighborhood that may get in the way.

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  In general, no. A vehicle must be properly licensed and operated by licensed driver. Vehicles such as those you have described cannot generally be licensed for use on roadways.  Please call 911 and report the activity when it is occurring.

Question:  The property next to me run dirt bikes all day on the weekends. the property line is next to our deck. they see how loud and close they run we can't even enjoy outside with guests because of it. their parents do it also. we live in the county on the westside by usi. is there anything that can be done. if anything is said it gets worse

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  If asking the neighbors to be respectful of your requests does not work, you can certainly call 911. A sheriff's deputy will come out and try to determine if the activity rises to the level of a criminal violation.

Question:  I have a scooter but the police department says its a motorcycle, the problem is I have driven that all over the tri-state and had no problem,but I have this police officer that keep on harassing me about insurance and plate. The scooter does not have a clutch on it.  I thinking about getting a permit and insurance on it my question is with a permit can I still ride the scooter (motorcycle)

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  If I understand your question, yes. This is provided that the vehicle you are describing is capable of being licensed and you are a licensed driver.

Question:  My grandson will be 26mos old on  june 16.  The car seat we have for him  was bought used and there's a sticker on it that says rear facing child restraint is designed for use by children who weigh between 5 and 40 lbs and whose height is between 19 and 40  inches.  So, could we legally use this as a forward facing toddler seat?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  Without specifically inspecting the seat, it is tough to say.  However, best practice would be to adhere to any labeling on the seat. 

Question:  Is there a curfew law in Evansville and if so, what is it?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  I have attached a copy of Evansville's curfew ordinance.

Section 13.131.11 Curfew.

    (A)    It is a violation of the Chapter for a child fifteen (15), sixteen (16), or seventeen (17) years of age to be in a public place:

    (1)    Between 1 A.M. and 5 A.M. on Saturday or Sunday;
    (2)    After 11 P.M. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday; or
    (3)    Before 5 A.M. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
    (B)    It is a violation of this Chapter for a child under fifteen (15) years of age to be in a public place after 11 P.M. or before 5 A.M. on any day.

    (C)    This section does not apply to a child who is:
    (1)    Accompanied by his parent, guardian, or custodian;
    (2)    Accompanied by an adult specified by his parent, guardian, or custodian; or
    (3)    Participating in, going to, or returning from:
    (a)    Lawful employment,
    (b)    A school sanctioned activity, or
    (c)    A religious event.
    (4)    This section does not also apply to a child who is:
    (a)    involved in an emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial damage;

    (b)    involved in an activity involving the exercise of the child' s rights protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article 1, Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, or both, such as freedom of speech and the right of assembly; or

    (c)    involved in an activity conducted by a religious organization, nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, entertainment, sports, education, training, or other care under the supervision of one (1) or more adults, or

    (d)    engaged in interstate or international travel from a location outside Indiana to another location outside of Indiana.

(Ord. G-94-18, passed 6-07-94) (Ord. G-2003-17, passed 7-21-03)

Question:  Is it true that once a sex offender is off probation he/she can live within 1000 ft. of a school or daycare?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  Yes, it is.  Generally, once a registered sex offender has completed their requirement to register, there are no longer any residency restrictions imposed by the state.

Question:  We live in Vanderburgh County and the property in front of our home is a 25ft. easement which we own to the middle of the ditch on to the other side.  What are the laws pertaining to an easement as far as a neighbor using it as parking for heavy equipment.  Could you
please give us some advice as to what to do or where to begin to find out what to do to prevent this?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  Unfortunately, I cannot answer your questions with much certainty with the information provided.  If you would send me your exact address, we would be happy to have a patrol unti come by and asses the situation.

Question:   What if any are the laws reguarding carrying a collapsable baton (asp)?  I did not know if I needed a permit for personal protection or if that just covered handguns? Thanks for the guidence.

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  To my knowledge, there is no specific statute that would prevent a private citizen from possessing or carrying a police style collapsible baton.

Question:    I'm a truck driver,and drive from northern Ill. to Tennesee dedicated, why do I get stopped for speeding 5 to 10 mile an hour over, but the law enforcement officers can make their own speed limits?  Why do we have two standards on speed limits?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  Law enforcement officers should not be making their "own speed limits".  They are bound by the same laws as every other citizen and should adhere to them.  There are exceptions to the traffic laws for emergency vehicle offerations, but they are very specific.  If you observe a law enforcement vehicle operating in an unsafe or reckless manner, I would suggest you report it to the agency operating the vehicle.

Question:  what does aperson need to do to get their drivers license back when the 90 days are up?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  Depending on why it was lost, the usual method is to apply for it at the BMV.

Question:  Is there a website where I can turn in an internet child porn site?

Answer from the Sheriff's Department:  There is no single website that we are aware of for submitting addresses of suspected internet child porn sites.  You may want to contact your local FBI field office with particular information about a site that concerns you.

Question:  I have read that in Indiana it is legal to audio or video tape a conversation as long as one party consents....for example, as long as I have my own consent to taping my conversation with a person, that person does not have to know. Is this still true today?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  It is not illegal if the sender or the receiver consents.  See IC 35-33.5-1-5 on "interception"

Question: Are Indiana State Line painting pickup crews allowed higher than 55 mph speeds than other people on state roads? This truck left MT.Vernon In. at a high rate of speed, Wed. afternoon, passing every thing on the road, in a reckless manner, around 13:20 Hrs., as I was headed to Evansville! They had just finnished lining 4 Th. & main in Mt. Vernon In. - Their super needs to be informed of this type of driving!

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  No. The painting crews are not exempt from the speed laws. You are right, their supervisor should be informed. If they're working for the state, you should contact the Indianan Department of Transportation. If they were working for another governmental unit, you should contact them and let them know what you saw.

Question: I have another question about seat belt laws.  If the driver has their seat belt on and the passenager don't who gets the ticket? Is the driver responsable for everyone in car?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  The driver is responsible for themselves and any child in the vehicle. An adult passenger in the vehicle who is required to wear a seat belt is responsible for themselves.

Question:  I know of a person that has been arrested and charged with DUI and he is still driving, borrowing friends cars. This is his 4th or 5th DUI, how can he still be on the road without having a drivers license?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  Unfortunately, unless the person is in jail or prison, there is nothing physically preventing him from operating a vehicle. He may legally be prohibited from operating a vehicle, however, unless he is stopped by the police, it does not matter.

Question:  Our subdivision (University Heights) has ditches both in front of some property and, in our case, behind the house.  We try to keep the weeds, etc. down on our side, but others don't.  Therefore there is stagnant water standing which is perfect for mosquitos to lay their eggs.  Is there anything that can be done about this?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: Whether something can be done or not depends on whether or not there is a code violation. At this point, it sounds like any violations that may be occurring would be administrative and not criminal. I would start by contacting the Building Commission and the Heath Department.

Question:  Someone in my neighborhood has sent me an anonymous letter which I consider to be threatening. It is in regards to my dogs and my yard.  Once in a while, not often, one of their cables breaks or the stake comes out of the ground and one gets loose. I don't intentionally let them run loose. This (possibly) same neighbor used to call animal control all the time about my dogs barking when they were kept on our carport. Now they stay in the backyard on cables with their doghouses because the 4 inches of sleet we got in February collapsed the carport roof. They only bark at the usual things dogs bark at, nothing out of the ordinary. Now they send me an anonymous letter threatening to call Animal Control and the health dept.- something about my yard? They didn't go into enough detail and I'm not positive who sent the letter, but I have a pretty good idea who did. We keep our yard mowed and trimmed. We don't have junk sitting around. What are my rights? My dogs have never bitten or attacked anyone. Their vaccines are up to date. I'm thinking about bringing the letter in to the police station for someone to look at, but maybe a lawyer would be better. Could you help me out? Thanks very much!

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: You have raised a couple of issues. If  the letter you have received threatens you or your family with bodily harm or it threatens damage or destruction of your personal property, it should be reported to the law enforcement agency covering your home.  Depending on where you live, leash and related animal regulations differ. However, in general, pet owners are responsible for the actions of their animals and are not prohibited from allowing the animal to roam freely outside of the owner's property. This is usually regardless of why the animal is roaming.  Some jurisdictions differ on how they deal with barking dogs. Again however, in most cases, the pet owner is responsible for their animal. If the animal is barking excessively or is "disturbing the peace" there may be some sanctions or penalties imposed.  It is always your option to involve an attorney, which often times is a good idea. In this case, as you have described it, I am unsure of what you are going to ask an attorney to do for you.

Question: We have a pool in our backyard, we have put up a 6ft. privacy fence around the yard.  Our next door neighbors' son, who is approximately 12 years old climbs on top of the roof of their shed, which is close to our fence, and yells and talks to our kids whenever we go outside. He is often home alone and his Dad is not the easiest person to talk to.  Our question is, can we do anything to let them know that this is why we have a privacy fence, for privacy. And we don't appreciate him looking over the fence and what if he fell into our yard and got hurt, would we be liable?? Thank you for any information you can give us!

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: To answer the second question first, liability is generally a civil issue and is hard to predict. In our society today, you can be sued for just about any act, omission or neglect. In my opinion, your having a proper privacy fence in place likely complies with the appropriate staututes and codes. There is not much more a person can reasonably do to protect themselves from liability.  To answer the second question, no, there is not much you can do. We would suggest that you make sure the parents of the young person are aware of the actions and that it is not appreciated nor do you believe them to to be safe. You should document the fact that you shared this information with them. If the yelling were loud, vulgar, during late hours, etc., it could elevate itself to harrassment or disturbing the peace. That would be a stretch at best and involves a juvenile which would complicate the situation. The bottom line, your best approach is to try to work out with the family and hope that they will correct the actions of their child.

Question: Would like to know what polling places will be available April 9 to vote on the property tax referendum for the Schools, or who to ask.

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: That information, when a final decision is reached, will be available from the Vanderburgh County Election Board which operates under the direction of the Vanderburgh County Clerk. I am also fairly certain that the EVSC will make that information available too.

Question:  How would I go about finding out if there is a convicted child molester living in our neighborhood? I have heard there is a web site you can go to but don't know the address. Any information would be appricated  Thank You.

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: In Indiana, you can check the web site listed below for sex offender registry information.

Question: What can I do if I believe a family member's Power of Attorny is taking advantage of them?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: This is a civil matter. The best course of action would be to consult with your attorney.

Question: How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record? 2 or 3 yrs?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  In Vanderburgh County, the ticket stays on your local record forever. On your state maintained driver's status it will remain for several years. It is usually purged after four(4) years.

Question: I was just wondering why I always get i guess you could say in trouble for skating...not doing all the tricks and whatnot, not that I dont do that. But this is just just when im skating around.  It is a form of transportation just like a bike...yet I still get yelled at and threatened with a fine.  Do you think its really really stupid , like I do?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:   I agree, being yelled at is unacceptable. Riding a skateboard is great fun and exercising when do so in accordance with the law. You need to skate in areas designed for those activities and on private property where permission has been granted. You should stay off public roads, sidewalks and other streets.

Question:With noise ordienance.  is there a time limit? From 9 pm to 6am?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  I would need more specific information. There is no noise ordinance in the county or statute with the state. There is a noise ordinance in the city of Evansville.

Question: What are the laws dealing with neon lights underneath cars and around license plates?  What colors are illegal?  Thank you.

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  There are no specific Indiana laws dealing with this. However, the statutes to look to for guidance are 36-8-12-11, 9-19-14.5, 9-19-14.5.2, 9-21-7-10 and 9-21-7-11.
All of these are available at www.ai.org.

Question:  My name is Jon King and I'm from Bellmont IL. I'm 15 years old and this summer im going to be really bored and my brother was in the Marine Corps and I would like to go to a military bootcamp for kids this summer. I'm not a trouble maker or anything so no troubled bootcamps. If you know anywere around in IL. or IN or the tri-state it would be great to know thank you. Please get back to me.

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  I am unaware of anything specifically like what you are mentioning. I do know that nearly every state police agency and state sheriff's organization sponsor different types of law enforcement camps and academies during the summer months. You may want to inquire with the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Sheriff's Association and your local law enforcement agencies.

Question: Where can I find information on police auctions in the Evansville area?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  There is no set schedule with the sheriff's office. However, when the sheriff's office or county auctions anything it is advertised in the local newspaper in the legal notices section.

Question: Can I use my computer to obtain someones police records or see whos listed as a sex offender in my nieghborhood without paying for it ? and how ? thank you

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: If you are in Indiana go to http://www.vanderburghsheriff.com, go to the links section and find Sex Offender Registry. From there, you should be able to search for all registered sex offenders in Indiana.

Question: how can a city cop go out-side of city limits and do a search warrent? or is that not allowed?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: With a valid search warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction, any police officer can be directed and or permitted to search anything anywhere based on the authority of the valid warrant.

Question:  I'm 70% disabled per veteran's admistration (VA) in my legs. Will this disqualify me from becoming a police officer if I can pass the POPS test? My disability is in my legs. I'm 37 years of age 91 college hours in law enforcement and have spent 3 years in the us army.

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:   I am not familiar with the POPS test, all applicants for deputy sheriff- regardless of experience, education or disability- must successfully complete each stage of our testing process. One stage of the process is the physical ability assessment. This assessment was established by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and it is used as part of their graduation standards for all basic law enforcement students. The standards for the assessment are as follows: vertical jump- minimum 16 inches one-minute sit-up test- minimum of 29 300 meter run- 71 seconds or less maximum pushups- 25 1.5 mile run- 16 minutes:28 seconds, or less these events are designed to measure the applicant's ability to perform various essential functions of a law enforcement officer. Although allowed by law, we do not have an upper-age cutoff. All persons interested in a career in law enforcement are welcomed to apply. Our next deputy applicant process is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2004.

Question:  I possess a valid personal protection permit to carry a handgun. The license states that I am permitted to carry on my person or in a vehicle any handgun I lawfully possess.  My question is:  Are there any specific places codified in law where I am not allowed to carry it?  I would expect not to be allowed to carry it in secure locations (e.g. courts, airports, etc.) but didn't know if there were some lesser known places where this is not permitted.

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:   Airports and court houses come to mind immediately. Local governments do have the ability to further restrict the carrying of firearms and other weapons. You will find that most jurisdictions ban weapons from being carried into large public gatherings or events such as concerts, ball games, etc.

Question: My 17 year old son wants to move out when he turns 18 and we were wondering if we would be legally and financially responsible for him if he does.  He has left high school and obtained his GED.  He is working and does not plan on pursuing higher education at this time?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.: In Indiana, you are an adult once you attain the age of 21. In certain instances involving court orders, medical conditions, education, a parent can be financially responsible for some children over 18. However, in the scenario you have described, your son will be on his own both legally and financially.

Question: I am a 72 year young lady and have neighbors that own a number of dogs.  These dogs bark and approach their fence and are capable of  jumping over the fence.  I am concerned they will do just that and
attack me.  I have spoken to the owner and expressed my concern, their response, "Yeh, they might!".  Now my question. What can I do to resolve what I think is a threat to my safety?

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  Unless the animal in question leaves the property of the owner or cause harm to a permissible visitor to the property, there is not much to be done beyond what you have already done. If the animal is roaming or leaving the property untethered or harms someone, you need to let your law enforcement agency know about it.

Question: Regarding law enforcement-  Since changing the YIELD sign from yellow to red, the manual states that one must "STOP" and then proceed with caution.  As the AARP State Coordinator for the Driver Safety Program, what is correct procedure for the red yield sign?


Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  I am not aware of any recent change in Indiana regarding "Yield Signs." I have included the Indiana Code relating to yield signs: IC 9-21-8-33 Yield signs; collision with pedestrian or vehicle Sec. 33. (a) A person who drives a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions or stop if necessary. The person shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian legally crossing the roadway and to a vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to present an immediate hazard. After yielding, the person may proceed, and all other vehicles approaching the intersection shall yield to the vehicle proceeding. (b) If a person who drives a vehicle is involved in a collision with a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a vehicle in the intersection after driving past a yield sign without stopping, the collision is considered prima facie evidence of the person's failure to yield the right-of-way. As added by P.L.2-1991, SEC.9.

Question:  My question is concering child restraints in vehicles.  Does Indiana have a telephone hotline that you can report people who do not have their children in child restraints?  I see this all the time and strongly feel that this is neglect!  I recently saw a number for Kentucky but have not seen any number for Indiana. Thanks for your help in protecting these innocent children!

Answer from the Sheriff's Dept.:  I am unaware of any official hotline for reporting motorists who fail to properly secure and fasten their young children while riding in motor vehicles. It is a good idea! There is nothing preventing you from dialing 911 and or contacting the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where you observe an offense. Each jurisdiction will likely handle your report differently. Some may dispatch a patrol car to the area. In Vanderburgh County, the likely response would be that a "Be On the Lookout" is issued to all patrol cars and hopefully one of our deputies would see the violation too and be able to address the situation appropriately

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