In North Carolina, the consequences of a conviction for a drug-related offense can be steep. Unfortunately, fear of these sanctions may deter many people from seeking help for themselves or others in the face of a life-threatening overdose. Tragically, overdose deaths have become a growing problem in North Carolina.But, did you know that in North Carolina you could be immune from prosecution for possessing certain drugs?
That's right. North Carolina General Statute 90-96.2 grants immunity to anyone who calls in a "good faith" concern about another person's overdose if they possess a controlled substance. The person who has allegedly overdosed is also covered under the statute. However, the defense to prosecution is extremely limited. First, the statute only covers felony offenses that are less than 1 gram of either heroin or cocaine. Also covered is any possession of a misdemeanor quantity of a controlled substance along with drug paraphernalia. Secondly, the evidence has to be obtained as part of the medical assistance request. What isn't covered, however, is any other crime that may be discovered when the law enforcement arrives. Also, and more surprising in today's world, certain substances aren't protected such as methamphetamine.
Unfortunately, even with these laws in place, people who witness, report, or intervene in overdoses may still be left vulnerable to serious legal consequences. To better understand and protect their rights, people who face any type of drug-related charge in North Carolina may benefit from consulting with an attorney. An attorney may be able to help a person devise an appropriate defense based on the situation and any mitigating factors.