Limited Immunity – Medical Assistance for a Drug Overdose

Raleigh Drug Lawyer

Each year the legislature modifies criminal laws, sometimes extensively as in 2012 with the Justice Reinvestment Act (see the SOG website for more).

2013 saw fewer changes. A list of all legislative changes to North Carolina criminal law is available here.

One of the important changes is the creation of a limited liability for people who seek medical assistance for themselves or friends during a drug overdose.

Calling for help when someone faced a >drug overdose used to invite criminal charges, either for the person whose life was saved, or the person who called for help.

N.C.G.S. § 90-96.2 creates a limited immunity for someone acting in “good faith” who seeks help, or for the person who is overdosing:

The person shall not be prosecuted for: (1) misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance under G.S. 90-95(a)(3), (2) a felony violation of G.S. 90-95(a)(3) for possessing less than one gram of cocaine or heroin, or (3) misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia under G.S. 90-113.22, if the evidence for prosecution of these offenses was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance for the drug-related overdose.

However, the immunity does not extend to the admissibility of any evidence collected that leads to the investigation or prosecution of other crimes. So, for instance, if more than one gram of heroin is found – 4 grams, qualifies for heroin trafficking.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.