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911 Law, underage drinking, Lake County criminal defense attorneyFor several years, the state of Illinois has granted immunity from criminal prosecution to individuals who call 911 for another person in danger of overdosing on heroin or other dangerous drugs. Lawmakers and proponents of so-called “Good Samaritan” laws believe that by offering immunity, a person with the ability to take action and save a life is more likely to do so if they are not in fear of criminal repercussions. Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature took the concept a step further, approving a measure that would offer similar protections to underage drinkers seeking emergency medical assistance.

Responding to the Dangers

The new law, set to take effect January 1, 2016, was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in late August. Supporters of the bill believe that those in a position to help are often paralyzed by the thought of getting in trouble with the law themselves. House sponsor Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood cited a particular example from within his district. “People were reluctant to call for help, but someone did,” he said. “And then both the teenager and the friend who called ended up getting citation for the situation.” Similar amnesty laws have been put into place in various places around the country, including many college campuses, and surveys indicate they are having desired effect.

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