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Maryland Good Samaritan Law Interpreted by Court of Special Appeals

The Maryland good Samaritan law has been on the books since October 2015.  Maryland, like the rest of the country has been suffering an opioid crisis.  Maryland Gen. assembly made a determination that it was more important to protect lives then prosecute people. Basically, there should not be a criminal prosecution for drug possession if it is discovered because a good Samaritan called in an overdose problem.

Specifically the statute states as follows:

§1–210.  
(a)   The act of seeking, providing, or assisting with the provision of medical assistance for another person who is experiencing a medical emergency after ingesting or using alcohol or drugs may be used as a mitigating factor in a criminal prosecution of:
(1)   the person who experienced the medical emergency; or
(2)   any person who sought, provided, or assisted in the provision of medical assistance.
(b)   A person who, in good faith, seeks, provides, or assists with the provision of medical assistance for a person reasonably believed to be experiencing a medical emergency after ingesting or using alcohol or drugs shall be immune from criminal arrest, charge, or prosecution for a violation of § 5–601, § 5–619, § 5–620, § 10–114, § 10–116, or § 10–117 of the Criminal Law Article if the evidence for the criminal arrest, charge, or prosecution was obtained solely as a result of the person’s seeking, providing, or assisting with the provision of medical assistance.
(c)   A person who reasonably believes that the person is experiencing a medical emergency after ingesting or using alcohol or drugs shall be immune from criminal arrest, charge, or prosecution for a violation of § 5–601, § 5–619, § 5–620, § 10–114, § 10–116, or § 10–117 of the Criminal Law Article if the evidence for the criminal arrest, charge, or prosecution was obtained solely as a result of the person seeking or receiving medical assistance.
(d)   A person who seeks, provides, or assists with the provision of medical assistance in accordance with subsection (b) or (c) of this section may not be sanctioned for a violation of a condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole if the evidence of the violation was obtained solely as a result of the person seeking, providing, or assisting with the provision of medical assistance.
The statute is not a model of clarity. After this particular statute was put on the books I was present for discussions between the state attorney's office, high-ranking brass for Montgomery County police And defense attorneys. It was not clear how the statute was to be interpreted. Who was protected?
The person making the call? The person overdosing? Other people just standing around at the party possessing drugs?
The Court of Special Appeals addressed this issue recently. In that case the defendant was overdosing. His girlfriend called for medical assistance and he was arrived. At the time he was overdosing he was on probation for drug offenses. His probation officer requested that he be found in violation of probation and the judge determined that he was in violation of probation.
His attorney appealed the matter claiming that the person suffering the overdose, the defendant, should be immune from prosecution. The court of special appeals agreed holding that the general assembly intended to protect the residents of Maryland rather than prosecute them in this sort of situation.
It is still not clear what would happen to other people at the party close to the drugs or possessing their own drugs in terms of criminal prosecution.
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