People accused of selling drugs in California may find themselves receiving criminal charges for the overdose deaths of their alleged customers. New 'drug delivery resulting in death" laws are becoming more common in many states. In places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, alleged drug dealers can face severe penalties for selling drugs to a person who goes on to fatally overdose
One man who was accused of selling heroin in Ohio could be handed a 19-year prison sentence if he is convicted of his charges. The man allegedly sold heroin to a 24-year-old woman who later died of an overdose. Because of Ohio's drug delivery resulting in death laws, the man was charged with involuntary manslaughter along with other counts.
Lawmakers and prosecutors see these laws as a way to deter potential drug dealers and fight heroin epidemics. However, a professor from Harvard Law School says that some states take them too far by charging alleged drug dealers with murder. Because a person who is engaged in drug dealing does not intend to kill their customers, and there is no way for the dealer to control how their customers take the drugs, such a law may not contain the necessary elements for such a crime.
A person who is being charged with selling drugs that resulted in an overdose may want to have representation from a criminal defense attorney. It may be possible to file a motion to suppress evidence that was obtained unlawfully during a search and seizure. Legal counsel can also attempt to contest the charge by arguing that not all of the required elements were present. In so doing, it may be possible to get the more serious charges dismissed.