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Law: Providing Immunity from Prosecution or Mitigation at Sentencing for Individuals Seeking Assistance During an Overdose

What are Immunity from Prosecution or Mitigation at Sentencing Laws?

A law enacted to encourage emergency treatment of people experiencing drug overdoses was included in this resource if the law provides any degree of immunity to an individual seeking help for himself or for another person experiencing an overdose. The protection could be from prosecution for possession of a controlled substance during the overdose incident or for other criminal charges. The law was also included if it makes seeking help in an overdose a mitigating factor at sentencing. Such laws are often referred to as “Good Samaritan” laws.

States with Immunity from Prosecution or Mitigation at Sentencing Laws

This map shows the 4 states in the list below that have immunity laws

4 States: Alaska, Maryland, New Mexico, Washington

Note: All laws enacted as of August 31, 2010.

Features of Immunity from Prosecution or Mitigation at Sentencing Laws by State


Features

States

Person seeking help for another person experiencing an overdose will not be charged or prosecuted for possession resulting from evidence gained from the call for help

NM, WA

 

 

Person experiencing overdose and needing medical attention will not be prosecuted for possession resulting from evidence gained from the call for help

 

NM, WA

 

Protection from prosecution will not extend to other criminal charges

WA

Seeking help may be mitigating factor in Controlled Substance Act prosecution

NM

Seeking help may be mitigating factor in a prosecution

AK, MD, WA


 
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