Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law and Drug Charges

Missouri Good Samaritan Law

In 2017, the Missouri Legislature passed RSMo Section 195.205,  the ” Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law” to provide immunity to those seeking assistance with a drug overdose or medical emergency. The rationale behind the law is that drug users might avoid seeking help for a drug overdose because they feared prosecution. The law has undoubetedly saved a number of lives and provides a complete defense to a possession charge. Our St. Louis Criminal Defense lawyer has used the good samaritan law to obtain complete dismissals on a number of drug possession cases. If you or a loved one have questions about whether or not the Good Samaritan Law applies to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our St. Louis criminal defense attorney today for a free case evaluation.

When does the Good Samaritan Law apply?

The good samaritan law applies to a person who is seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose or other medical emergency.  It applies to both the person who seeks help and to the person is experiencing the medical emergency or drug overdose. Under the good samaritan law, a drug overdose is defined as “a condition including, but not limited to, extreme physical illness, decreased level of consciousness, respiratory depression, coma, mania, or death which is the result of consumption or use of a controlled substance or alcohol or a substance with which the controlled substance or alcohol was combined, or that a person would reasonably believe to be a drug or alcohol overdose that requires medical assistance”. “Medical Assistance” is defined as, “includes, but is not limited to, reporting a drug or alcohol overdose or other medical emergency to law enforcement, the 911 system, a poison control center, or a medical provider; assisting someone so reporting; or providing care to someone who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other medical emergency while awaiting the arrival of medical assistance.” It is important to note, that medical assistance must be sought in “good faith”. In other words, you can’t just say youre having a drug overdose after the police find drugs in your car to get out of being arrested.

Example: John and John are using drugs at John’s house and Jane overdoses. John calls 911 to seek help for Jane. The police come and find drugs in the house. Under Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law, John cannot be prosecuted because he was seeking medical assistance in good faith for Jane.

What charges does the Good Samaritan Law protect against?

The good Samaritan Law protects against prosecution from the following Missouri criminal charges:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possession of an Imitation Controlled Substance
  • Keeping or maintaining a Public Nuisance
  • Sale of Alcohol to Minor
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Misrepresentation of  Age by a Minor to obtain alcohol
  • Violation of a restraining order
  • Violating probation or parole

However, the law does not protect against other charges, such as distribution of a controlled substance or manslaughter. If for instance, you provide drugs to someone who overdoses and dies you could still be charged with those offenses. Moreover, the statute only applies to state charges and is not a defense to federal drug charges.

Example: John sold Jane heorin which Jane overdosed on. John calls 911 for help and the police show up. John admits to police that he sold the heroin to Jane. John can still be charged with distribution of a contolled substance and manslaughter because those charges are not covered by the good samaritan statute.

How a St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney can help

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney for a free consultation to discuss whether the Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law applies to your case. We have experiences fighting drug charges in St. Louis and throughout the state using Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law. Missouri’s good samaritan law provides a complete defense and requires that the case be dismissed.

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