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Drug-Induced Homicide: When Dealing Becomes Murder

MINNESOTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

Despite an increasing acceptance of less harmful drugs like marijuana by society, there is no question that the United States is still in the grips of a drug crisis.

Opioids in particular have taken a strong hold and lead to a huge spike in overdose deaths in the past decade. In order to combat this, many states have taken it upon themselves to fight this drug epidemic in any way possible.

However, while they may have made some positive strides in this respect, the addition of laws allowing the prosecution of drug-induced homicide is a huge step back for everyone involved.

WHAT IS DRUG-INDUCED HOMICIDE?

This charge is a relatively new one in many states who have adopted it since 2015, but in Minnesota, drug-induced homicide has been used since the late 80’s.

This charge states that if you provide the drugs and an overdose occurs, you can be charged with homicide for the victims’ death.

This not only goes after dealers, but those that administer the drugs as well. If you are helping someone do the drugs, like injecting a friend with heroin, if they overdose from it, you can be charged with murder.

DRUG-INDUCED HOMICIDE LAW HELPS NO ONE

The idea behind the drug-induced homicide charge was that it was one further way to punish drug dealers and deter new dealers from hitting the streets.

Overall, this would in turn lead to less drug use among the public. Unfortunately, the idea was a silly and small-minded one and has proven to be a dangerous one as well.

One thing that lawmakers clearly didn’t consider is that most new drug dealers don’t know many drug laws.

They don’t know that an overdose can be a homicide charge until they are charged with one. Furthermore, many drug dealers need the money more than they fear any criminal repercussions for their actions. So the law doesn’t deter dealing in any respect.

What drug-induced homicide charges do is cause death. The mere existence of the charge confuses and conflicts with the Good Samaritan law in Minnesota.

This law states that if you call 911 to seek help for an overdose of another, you cannot be charged with a crime for possession of drugs or paraphernalia. Unfortunately, this does not extend to protection from drug-induced homicide if they die.

This means if you sold the drugs, but called help for their overdose, you can be arrested on this charge if they pass away. This leads to people continuing to fear calling for help due to the confusion the charge causes, and it leads to needless death.

FIGHTING DRUG-INDUCED HOMICIDE CHARGES

If you find yourself arrested for drug-induced homicide, your first step is to get in contact with a skilled criminal defense attorney.

They can advise you on the best steps to take in order to limit your potential for punishment. However, the majority of your defense will likely come from proving that you were not linked to providing the victim with the drugs directly, or at least calling it into question.

While this is the most common route to take, it is not the only defense you can employ. Every single drug-induced homicide case is different, but it comes with the same harsh punishment that you don’t deserve.

Are you a dealer in Minnesota under arrest for drug-induced homicide? If you find yourself under this serious, but lesser known charge, contact us today.

The Speas Law Firm is dedicated to representing those that have made mistakes. While dealing drugs is a crime, you certainly shouldn’t face the same punishments as a murder charge for doing it. Let us help you.