Drug Possession: Explaining New York’s 911 Good Samaritan Exception

While there has been an increase in heroin and opioid drug use all across the United States, New York State has also seen a dramatic increase within recent years. With the rise in heroin, prescription drug and opioid abuse in recent years, the number of fatal heroin overdoses has only continued to increase as well. In fact, according to a recent article posted by LoHud.com, heroin/opioid related deaths rose 47 percent in New York between 2010 and 2014. The article goes on to mention that in 26 of the state’s 62 counties, the number of opioid-related deaths, including heroin, doubled during the same time period.

With heroin’s death toll rising daily and drug use continuing to spread throughout New York State, it has become clearer that more needs to be done. Most drug overdose deaths are both accidental and preventable and often occur in the presence of others. Studies have found that for the majority of those experiencing or witnessing a potentially fatal drug overdose, they hesitate to call emergency services due to fear of police arrest or criminal prosecution for possession of a controlled substance.

To help combat this growing epidemic, the NYS Legislature has created an exception from criminal liability in cases where a defendant is found in possession of a narcotic. The 911 Good Samaritan Law went into effect on September 18, 2011 in an effort to help prevent fatal drug overdoses. This law was enacted to encourage people to call for emergency help when witnessing or experiencing an alcohol or other drug related overdose.

Under the Good Samaritan Law, those who call 911 seeking emergency services for themselves or someone experiencing an overdose receive a limited shield from charge and prosecution for the possession of narcotics, marijuana, and, for minors, alcohol. Thanks to the implementation of this law, people no longer have to decide between doing the right thing by calling for emergency aid that could mean life or death for themselves or others experiencing a drug overdose and being saddled with a criminal conviction and going to jail for drug possession.

Hug Law: Experienced Drug Possession Criminal Attorney In NY’s Capital Region

If you have been charged with drug possession by an overzealous police officer in NY’s Capital District, you need a drug possession criminal lawyer that is fully aware and knowledgeable about the Good Samaritan exception in relation to drug possession charges. Matthew Hug is an experienced Albany criminal drug defense and drug possession attorney with experience representing a variety of clients in New York’s Capital Region including Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga & more.

If you believe that the Good Samaritan exception applies to your case, contact Hug Law, PLLC today or call us now at 518.283.3288.