When emergency personnel found Stephanie Bongiovi, daughter of the famous rocker Jon Bon Jovi, in her dorm room this month they found her unresponsive but thankfully, still alive. According to reports, paramedics were dispatched to the dorm because they suspected the young woman had overdosed on heroin.
But when police arrived, she was immediately arrested along with another student for allegedly possessing small amounts of heroin and marijuana. Bongiovi's arrest comes as a shock to many New York defense lawyers who point out that a new state law should have prevented her arrest from happening in the first place.
Passed last year, the law called Good Samaritan 911, "encourages people to call for emergency services in the event of an overdose by providing protection from charge and prosecution for possession of small amounts of drugs, and also protects against arrest for misdemeanor possession of residual amounts of drugs or paraphernalia."
According to police, Bongiovi and the other student who were arrested are expected to appear in court at a later date and could face criminal charges for drug possession. Many people in the community argue that both Bongiovi and the student should not have to face criminal charges because "saving lives should always take priority over punishing behavior."
Although New York may have a law that protects people from charge and prosecution for the possession of small amounts of drugs, this may not be the case in all states, including Minnesota where drug crime charges can have fairly severe consequences depending on the circumstances. That is why it is important for people who are accused of drug crimes to speak with a knowledgeable attorney; they can help guide you through the particularly convoluted legal system to make sure that your rights are being protected through the entire process.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Saving Lives By Calling for Help: Overdose and Bon Jovi's Daughter," Gabriel Sayegh, Nov. 14, 2012