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Archive for the ‘Illinois Good Samaritan Overdose Law’ tag

Illinois May Have a Good Samaritan Law for Reporting Overdoses, Yet You Could Still be Charged with Drug Crimes

April 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am

Illinois good samaritan law, overdose, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneyIn an effort to help combat the heroin epidemic that has been plaguing the United States in the past few years, in 2012 the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act was amended to include a provision that provides limited immunity from prosecution for those who witness an overdose and call for help. In other words, those who report an overdose can avoid at least some drug charges. The provision is codified in 720 ILCS 570/414, and is sometimes referred to as the Illinois Good Samaritan Overdose Law.

Good Samaritan Overdose Law Limited to Possession of Drugs That Can Cause Overdoses

The overdose law offers protection to those who report an overdose. However, the protection offered by the law is strictly limited to possession and is limited to small quantities of drugs that are capable of causing an overdose. Those who seek medical attention for someone who is overdosing will not be charged with a Class 4 felony for possession of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike substance or a controlled substance analog if evidence for a Class 4 charge was acquired as a result of seeking help for the person who is overdosing.

The law is only applicable if a small quantity of drugs are found at the scene of the overdose, such as:

  • Less than three grams of heroin, cocaine, morphine or LSD;
  • Less than six grams of pentazocine (an opioid), quaaludes, PCP or ketamine; or
  • Less than 40 grams of peyote, barbiturates, amphetamines, or any Schedule I or II narcotics.  

But the Law Does Not Protect Against a Lot of Other Potential Charges

The law does not protect against drug charges for other drugs, such as cannabis, methamphetamines or other controlled substances. Nor does the law protect those who report overdose victims from other drug charges, such as possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of cannabis, possession of methamphetamines, and drug delivery.

Those who report the overdose could also face other criminal charges if the circumstances warrant such charges, such as driving with a revoked or suspended license, DUI, or aggravated battery (if the person who reported the overdose is suspected of assisting the victim in injecting him or herself with the drug that caused the overdose).

So while you might be doing the “right thing” by calling for medical assistance if you witness someone overdosing on drugs, you should be aware that the overdose law only offers you limited protection from criminal prosecution. It is very easy in an overdose situation to find evidence of other crimes that you would not be immune to under the overdose law.

Contact Us for Help with Your Case

Just because there is a good samaritan overdose reporting law, it does not mean that you are protected against all criminal charges you might face if the cops show up. There are a number of other drug charges you could face. Please contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately if you have been arrested after reporting an overdose. Our attorneys are prepared to assist you today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2733

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072005700K414

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