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When can Colorado’s 911 Good Samaritan Law protect you?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Drug Possession |

If you called 911 or otherwise sought emergency help for a friend or someone you happened to be with who appeared to be suffering a drug overdose, do you run the risk of being arrested for your own drug possession and use?

In most cases, you don’t. Colorado, like most other states, offers immunity for personal drug possession for those who seek this help as well as for the overdose victim. These “Good Samaritan” laws have been enacted to help reduce the number of fatal overdoses that occur because those with the person overdosing leave the scene for fear of arrest. Some people also die alone from overdoses because they’re afraid if they seek help for themselves, they’ll end up in jail.

What you need to do to qualify for immunity

Colorado’s 911 Good Samaritan Law gives immunity from arrest, charges and prosecution for unlawful possession of a controlled substance as well as drug paraphernalia to anyone who reports what they reasonably believe to be an overdose (of drugs or alcohol). They can do this by calling 911 or seeking help from a law enforcement officer or medical provider. That immunity extends to the person for whom they’ve sought help.

For the law to apply, a person must remain at the scene until law enforcement officers have arrived. They must also accurately identify themselves and cooperate with all first responders, including the police.

When doesn’t the law apply?

This law isn’t a “get out of jail free” card for any criminal offense – not even all drug-related offenses. If police show up and find pounds of cocaine or a meth lab at your home, expect some serious questioning. Likewise, if they find stolen goods or evidence of some other kind of crime, this law doesn’t apply to any culpability you might have for that.

Drug overdose scenes can be chaotic and confusing. If you’ve been arrested for a drug-related charge that you believe qualifies for immunity, it’s crucial to protect your rights and present your case. Getting legal guidance as soon as possible can make all the difference in the outcome.