Youth Can Now Call 911 Without Fear of Arrest

By Stephen Humphress

During the last General Assembly, Senate Bill 13 was enacted into law and created a new medical amnesty statute.

The purpose of the new law is to encourage youth to seek emergency medical attention for themselves or friends in case of life threatening alcohol poisoning or overdose.

Many youth fail to obtain or request needed medical assistance in emergency situations regarding alcohol poisoning for fear of arrest or police involve-ment.

If strict criteria are met, these young people are provided immunity from prosecution for less serious alcohol-related criminal offenses.

The new law encourages youth to call 911 by removing the fear of criminal prosecution.

To prevent abuse, strict requirements must be met in order for immunity to apply. The requirements are as follows:

A caller requests emergency medical assistance for self or another person.

The request is made for an individual who reasonably appears to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption.

The caller must also comply with the following stipulations. The caller must:
(a) Provide, if able, full name and all other relevant information requested by emergency medical personnel or law enforcement;
(b) Remain with the individual needing medical assistance until professional medical assistance is provided.
(c) Cooperate with emergency personnel and law enforcement officers.

If these requirements are met, the caller, an assisting friend and the youth needing medical assistance would be immune from criminal prosecution for less serious alcohol-related offenses such as alcohol intoxication, drinking alcoholic beverages in a public place, and possession of alcoholic beverages by a minor under 21 years of age.

The new law recognizes that the lives of our youth outweigh minor criminal offenses.

Stephen Humphress is the General Counsel at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and a special contributor to this publication. Info: (502)564-4850.