What happens when a drug addict calls 911 on her abuser?
Criminal defense attorney Ben Van Severen regularly answers questions for individuals seeking legal help on AVVO.com. In a recent question, one individual wanted to know what would happen to her if she, a drug addict, called police after being abused by her partner.
Will she be excused from responsibility because she was abused?
No, of course not. The victim of a battery, domestic violence, a disorderly conduct, any other crime, or a combination is not automatically absolved of responsibility because something worse happened to her. If you’re caught possessing marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or any other kind of drug, it’s extremely likely that the district attorney’s office will proceed with drug charges against you. Your status as victim of a different crime does not nullify any of the elements of the drug crime. If you still possessed the substance, you’ll still likely be charged with that offense.
Although it’s not related, the asker may have been confused regarding good samaritan laws in Wisconsin. The “911 Good Samaritan Law” was passed in 2014 and granted limited immunity to someone, frequently another user, who calls 911 for a person experiencing a drug overdose. The policy behind that law was to encourage a medical response to individuals experiencing overdoses. In the absence of the new law, another user who was in possession of a controlled substance may have felt an obligation to leave the scene. If nobody comes to revive the individual overdosing, that overdose will almost certainly lead to a fatality. Using the 911 Good Samaritan Law as a vehicle to avoid criminal responsibility for possession of drugs, in an abusive relationship, is not applicable to this law.
What may prevent her from being charged?
Remember, every criminal case filing requires a prosecutor’s action. And that all prosecutors and police possess the ability to exercise discretion when determining whether a criminal charge is appropriate. In the situation where the victim is nearly beaten to death, and a small amount of marijuana is found in her pocket, she may not be charged. The actions of the abuser may be so serious that a prosecutor decides to look past the fact that a small amount of a substance was found. A prosecutor may use his or her discretion and not charge the victim for possession of marijuana.
But remember – this is not a remotely guaranteed situation. Even in the above-discussed situation, the victim has still satisfied the statutory definition of a crime.
Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. immediately about your criminal case
Criminal charges will change the rest of your life. If you’re convicted of a criminal offense, you could be sent to prison. There won’t be a second chance to hire the right attorney.
For those reasons, Attorney Ben Van Severen believes that you should hire the best criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin that you can afford. At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we focus 100% of our resources on defending criminal cases just like yours. If you’ve been alleged to have committed a crime, contact immediately at (414) 270-0202.