Immunity act to go into effect in July

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Governor has signed a bill into law that would provide immunity to an individual requesting assistance during a medical emergency caused by the consumption of alcohol.

Senate Bill 2197 states that a law enforcement officer shall not take an individual into custody if that person, in all good faith, requested emergency medical assistance for another individual who appeared to be in need of help due to alcohol consumption so long as that person did not supply the alcohol to the injured individual.

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The new law placed the person under the “Good Samaritan law,” since they are helping an individual in need, said State Representative for District 106 John Glen Corley.

He said several public universities already have a similar policy in place so college students can get help for their friends.

The purpose of having the act in place is to ensure individuals do not fear being charged with a crime when requesting assistance during a medical emergency, Corley said.

To qualify for the immunity, the individual contacting emergency personnel has to remain on scene with the person in need of assistance until assistance arrives. That person also has to cooperate fully with law enforcement and paramedics once they arrive, the bill states.  If they comply with the regulations, that person would be immune from criminal prosecution.

Corley said he had mixed feeling about the act.

While he agrees that providing immunity to someone who’s doing the right thing is positive, at the same time the individual should be responsible enough to not binge drink and become involved in things that could potentially lead to their arrest, he said.

This act will take effect July 1, 2018.