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What Is The Safe Overdose Reporting Law For Virginia Drug Crimes?

Question

When a person reports an overdose in Virginia, they can secure immunity from prosecution for certain drug crimes. This law exists to help ensure that any overdose is promptly reported, thus allowing medical personnel to react as quickly as possible. But in order to qualify for immunity under this law, the overdose reporter must comply with various aspects of Virginia law.

What is the Virginia Definition of an Overdose?

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-251.03 defines what qualifies as an overdose. Under this section, the term “overdose” refers to any life-threatening condition that results from the consumption or use of:

  • Alcohol;
  • A controlled substances; or
  • A combination of substances.

Which Drug Crimes are Eligible for Safe Reporting?

Section 18.2-251.03 also details which drug crimes are eligible for the safe overdose reporting law. Assuming the person reporting the overdose complies with the rules and regulations outlined below, they can escape legal liability for:

  • Unlawful purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol (Code of Virginia Section 4.1-305);
  • Unlawful purchase, possession, or consumption of marijuana (Code of Virginia Section 4.1-1105.1);
  • Possession of a controlled substance (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-250);
  • Public intoxication in public (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-388); or
  • Possession of controlled paraphernalia (Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3466).

How Does the Safe Overdose Reporting Law Work?

In order to qualify for immunity from arrest or prosecution for the drug crimes listed previously, Section 18.2-251.03 establishes a series of conditions.

The first condition requires a good faith report concerning an overdose. A person can report their own overdose or the overdose of someone else. The person reporting the overdose can request emergency medical assistance or, if they are qualified to do so, render emergency medical assistance.

The second condition requires the person reporting the overdose to remain at the scene until the authorities arrive. Or, if the person experiencing the overdose was already transported to an alternate location, the reporter must remain there and wait for the authorities.

The third condition requires the person reporting the overdose to identify themself to law enforcement and cooperate accordingly.

Finally, it is worth noting that immunity only applies if the evidence in question was obtained as a result of reporting the overdose. If law enforcement has a warrant or conducts a lawful search pursuant to arrest for something else, the safe reporting overdose law does not necessarily apply.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about Virginia laws against drug crimes, it can be tremendously constructive to speak with an accomplished Leesburg drug crimes lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP are well-versed in the arena of criminal defense, including charges like drug crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

SOURCES:

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-251.03/

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title4.1/chapter3/section4.1-305/

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title4.1/chapter11/section4.1-1105.1/

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-250/

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter8/section18.2-388/

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section54.1-3466/

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