good samaritan

What Is California’s Good Samaritan Law and When Does It Cover Criminal Offenses?

When an emergency occurs, we all hope that someone would try to help us. But imagine trying to help someone and being sued for rendering medical assistance. This is the basis for California’s Good Samaritan law. 

California’s Good Samaritan law was passed in 2009 in order to protect medical professionals and non-medical professionals from lawsuits when trying to help someone else in an emergent situation. 

For instance, imagine a lifeguard gives a swimmer CPR after nearly drowning but broke his or her rib in the process. Before the Good Samaritan law, if the swimmer survived he or she would have had the ability to sue the lifeguard for his or her broken rib. The unintentional result of such a possibility led to many people being hesitant to lend a hand. 

Are there Exceptions to the Good Samaritan Law?

While different states have their own versions of a Good Samaritan Law, California only covers civil liability. Therefore it protects people from being sued but does not protect them from being arrested. In other words, it can prevent you from having to pay restitution (a payment to an alleged victim after a conviction) but doesn’t prevent or protect them from serving time in jail or prison. However, criminal charges only occur if the district attorney decides to pursue them. 

Unfortunately, this can still serve to make would-be-helpers reluctant to help another person in certain situations. For instance, if an underage college student is demonstrating that he or she is suffering from alcohol poisoning but you’ve also had some drinks, taking him or her to the ER wouldn’t necessarily keep you from getting in trouble for drinking underage. The only upside to this is that since criminal courts are decided by juries, the jury may be less inclined to punish you if they know that you chose to help someone despite getting caught. 

A qualified California criminal defense attorney can help you to formulate your strategy and argument when facing a conviction. 

The Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman Helps Those in California Who Have Been Charged with a Crime 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in California, you should be sure to take it seriously. Such a charge can have tremendous life-long effects on you. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorney who understands criminal law and can help to walk you through the whole process. 

At the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman, our San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorneys will work to defend your freedom, collect proper evidence to help your case, and work hard to have the criminal charges against you dropped or reduced. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!