How Do Drug Overdose Good Samaritan Laws Work?
Drug Charge Lawyer Rockville, MD
The last thing you want to be thinking about when you are in the presence of someone overdosing from drugs is the consequences of calling 911. You may be afraid that if the paramedics arrive, the police will be following close behind, and explaining your role in the situation might become tricky. Whether or not you have something to hide, weighing the possible death of another human being versus the possibility of facing criminal charges is an unenviable position. Fortunately, in some situations, 40 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of a Good Samaritan or 911 drug immunity law.
These laws protect both people calling on behalf of others and people calling for help on their own behalf. This protection is part of a law that outlines the punishment for possession of various narcotic substances. The laws hold that the punishment is not applicable to someone:
(1) Who seeks medical aid, in good faith, for a person he or she believes is overdosing on any drug or substance;
(2) For whom another person seeks medical aid, believing he is overdosing on any drug or substance; or
(3) Who reasonably believes he or she is overdosing and seeks medical aid for himself or herself. This applies if evidence for a charge of illegal possession or control of a controlled substance against the person overdosing was gathered as a result of the seeking of such medical aid.
The first part of this law gives protection to the person calling for help on behalf of the overdosing victim, while the other two give protection to the victim calling for help for themselves or when someone else calls for them.
The law also states that the “good faith” aspect does not apply in some cases. For example, when you seek assistance when the police officers arrive at your location to execute a search or arrest warrant, or otherwise conduct a legal search, the good faith effort may not be considered. In this situation, the police will likely assist you or a friend who is overdosing, but any evidence of possession recovered while they assist you will likely be used against you in court if you end up being charged with some drug offense.
Protection for Licensed Health Care Professionals
Good Samaritan laws also provide protection for any medical professionals that treat overdose victims using certain restricted substances. The laws list the drug naloxone hydrochloride and other similar drugs that are meant to counteract opioids. Specifically, the law protects health care professionals who administer drugs in an effort to treat or prevent an overdose from criminal prosecution and civil liability.
Contact a Drug Charges Attorney for Assistance
If you are charged with a drug crime, contact a skilled drug charge lawyer Rockville, MD trusts at Daniel J. Wright with experience working on drug cases immediately. Contact a law firm to set up a consultation to find out how a lawyer can help.