Maryland enacted a Good Samaritan Law in 2015, which affords some protection against arrest and prosecution for several stated crimes. It was primarily enacted to protect people who administer assistance in an emergency situation involving any type of drug overdose, where the individual might fear risk of arrest and prosecution.
The necessity for a law like this stems from a continued increase of heroin and opioid related overdoses in the state. In the first part of 2017, deaths related to the use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, were on the rise. Fatalities related to fentanyl overdoses increased from 157 in 2016, to 372 in 2017 for January through March. It is believed that many users are unknowingly consuming fentanyl and related synthetic opioids as they are often mixed in with other illicit drugs, like heroin, which increases their potency.
Good Samaritan Law in Maryland
Because of this growing heroin and opioid-related drug problem in the state, Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law encourages anyone who observes or undergoes a potential overdose due to the use of drugs or alcohol to get medical help without concerns of repercussions. Scenarios in which an individual might fear arrest or criminal charges include:
- Possession of or use of drug-related paraphernalia
- Possession of or use of a dangerous controlled substance
- Providing alcohol or drugs to a minor
How Does the Good Samaritan Law Apply?
Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law extends to anyone who provides, seeks, or somehow assists with issuing medical assistance to an individual who has ingested or is using drugs or alcohol. The law is also applicable to victims if they receive assistance after someone else has sought help for them.
It also protects individuals from possibly violating a requirement of his or her pretrial release, parole, or probation if any evidence was solely obtained from an individual providing, seeking, or offering assistance with medical treatment in an attempt to save a person’s life.
According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there are six drug-related misdemeanors that apply under the law here. They are:
- § 5-601: Possessing or Administering a Controlled Dangerous Substance
- § 5-619: Drug Paraphernalia
- § 5-620: Controlled Paraphernalia
- § 10-114: Underage Possession of Alcohol
- § 10-116: Obtaining Alcohol for Underage Consumption
- § 10-117: Furnishing for or Allowing Underage Consumption of Alcohol
Who is Exempt From the Good Samaritan Law?
However, the Good Samaritan Law does not apply to those who witnessed the medical emergency and did not help or assist in any manner. It also does not apply to any drug-related felonies or any other crimes not specified above.
In addition, law enforcement is permitted to conduct an investigation and gather evidence in connection with the investigation.
Retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are being charged with a drug related crime that you believe would fall under Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law, you need to retain a skilled Charles County criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro to schedule a confidential consultation.
This article has been provided by Law Office of Robert R. Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301)870-1200.
Law office of Robert Castro. 2670 Crain Highway #411, Waldorf, MD 20601. (301)870-1200.