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How the Good Samaritan Law gives immunity in overdose emergencies

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Alcohol-related Charges, Drug Charges

When you encounter someone in a life-and-death situation like an overdose, you might be at a loss on what to do. As much as you would like to help, you could have delayed reactions due to shock or panic. You might even hold back for fear that you could face charges for drug possession.

Shielding the seekers and providers of help

In Maryland, the law urges people to help in overdose emergencies involving a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or alcohol. They must seek medical assistance right away or provide or assist with the treatment if they are knowledgeable.

The Good Samaritan Law may clear seekers and providers of help from arrest or prosecution for certain charges. These are using or possessing a CDS or drug paraphernalia and giving alcohol to minors.

Protecting overdose victims as well

Moreover, the law can protect victims if the only evidence of their substance use is the reported medical emergency. In addition, the victims should have only received assistance through the help of someone else. The victims may dodge these six misdemeanors:

  • Administering or possessing a CDS
  • Controlled paraphernalia
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Alcohol possession by a minor
  • Allowing or furnishing for underage alcohol consumption
  • Obtaining alcohol for a minor’s consumption

The law may also protect victims from violating conditions of parole, probation or pretrial release. This is possible if authorities received proof of the victims’ violations only because the “Good Samaritans” helped them.

Certain limitations

Meanwhile, the law does not shield mere witnesses of an overdose emergency. They should be actual “Good Samaritans” by helping the victims in whatever capacity.

In addition, it does not stop authorities from holding investigations and gathering new evidence. More importantly, the law does not apply to other criminal offenses and drug felonies.

Immunity is not automatic

It is important to be of help when there is a medical emergency. But you must be careful when dealing with overdoses because authorities may still conduct investigations. Getting legal advice could help you face an investigation so that you may protect your record and your good intentions.