For the most part, the reason that the United States has laws preventing the possession, sale, and use of certain substances is because they are dangerous. While some drugs may make you feel good, often they can compromise your mental faculties and can result in poor decision making. Furthermore, there is a chance that you fall into the mindset that more will make you feel even better. This, with many substances, can result in an overdose.
With the ongoing opioid epidemic, overdoses are becoming more common every day. The truly scary fact is that those people experiencing or watching an overdose maybe apprehensive about calling 911 to get help. Although this apprehension is deadly, in the moment they may be worried about being charged with a drug crime for either themselves as a witness or for the person who is experiencing an overdose.
However, is this really true? Will you face criminal charges for overdosing or reporting one?
MINNESOTA’S GOOD SAMARITAN AND OVERDOSE AMNESTY LAW
The truth is that there are still some states where if you call in an overdose or experience an overdose, you will face drug crimes like possession. However, due to recent laws that are trying to address and adapt to the opioid epidemic, this is not true under Minnesota law anymore.
The criminal amnesty for those who report or experience overdoes in Minnesota is addressed under Section 604A.05 of Minnesota law. It states the neither those who call medical assistance for an overdose nor those who experience an overdose will face drug charges for their part in the incident. However, the person reporting the overdose will either need to stay on the scene or provide their contact information to receive this Good Samaritan immunity. Yet, the most important thing is that help was called.
This is put in place to encourage people to call 911 if they see or are experiencing an overdose because it will in fact save a life. Furthermore, while engaging in an overdose will violate your parole, reporting one under this law will not result in the revocation of your parole. It should also be noted that if you are in the middle of criminal charges, while reporting the overdose can be a mitigating factor, it will not result in an immunity for your ongoing case.
However, there are a few added features in this law to prevent people from using it as a loophole for drug charges. As you can imagine, if you are looking at a potential arrest for drug possession, if you gave yourself an intentional overdose, this amnesty law could have helped you avoid that. Of course, the law recognized this and put a few extra nomenclature in to discourage this reckless and dangerous potential action.
The most important thing to note about the amnesty and Good Samaritan law is that it cannot be used when law enforcement is executing an arrest warrant or performing a lawful search. So if law enforcement pulls you over to search your vehicle and you consume enough drugs for an overdose, it will not give you amnesty.
While this isn’t a way to get out of drug charges, it is important that the users of Minnesota know the law. If you or a friend is experiencing an overdose, it is crucial that help is called and not put off because they are afraid of the legal consequences. However, if you are currently facing drug charges in Minnesota for an incident of sale or possession outside of an overdose incident, contact us today so the Speas Law Firm can help you evade the punishments.