With the increasing use of heroin, opiate pain medication and other drugs, has also come drug induced deaths. Prosecutors and police are serious about doing everything they can to combat this problem and they see aggressive prosecution of those who cause drug induced deaths as one way of fighting this problem. If you are arrested because you gave them drugs and they died, you face a first degree crime that carries as much as 20 years in state prison and over $100,000 in potential fines. You are also up against a law that, unlike most criminal offenses, does not require intent to commit the charge in question, namely, cause someone to die. As you might therefore suspect, defense of a drug induced death charge requires skill, like that possessed on our legal team. We are ready to put our 100 plus years of criminal defense and prosecution experience to work so you can avoid the penalties associated with a conviction. Call us now at 973-710-1520 for immediate assistance.
What Law Applies To A Drug Induced Death Charge?
The law establishing this offense is contained at N.J.S. 2C:35-9 and makes it a first degree crime to distribute drugs that cause someone to die.
Do All Drugs Fall Under N.J.S. 2C:35-9?
The drug induced death law is limited to distribution of methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine, or other Schedule I or II forms of controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”).
How Does The Prosecutor Prove Someone Guilty Of This Offense?
There are four (4) elements that the prosecutor must prove to convict someone for causing a drug induced death under N.J.S. 2C:35-9. Each and every one of these elements must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The elements are: (1) the substance involved was either methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine, or another Schedule I or II CDS; (2) the defendant manufactured, distributed, or dispensed the drug; (3) the defendant’s purpose was to manufacture, distribute or dispense the CDS; and (4) the victim died because of injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance.
Is It A Defense That The Victim Acted Recklessly?
The statute is clear on its face that the victim’s own misconduct is not a defense to prosecution for causing his/her death. Their contribution, including consent to ingestion of the drugs, is no defense under the statute.
Can I Also Be Prosecuted For Manslaughter or Another Form of Homicide?
As stated clearly in subsection (d) of the statute, a prosecution for a drug induced death does not preclude a homicide charge as well, including murder or manslaughter.
Since Distribution of CDS Is An Element Of This Crime, Does That Offense Merge Into A Conviction For This Drug Induced Death?
There is no merger so you can be charged and receive separate penalties for both causing a death and distributing the drugs.
What Penalties Do I Face If I Am Convicted Of Selling Drugs That Cause Someone To Die?
As previously stated, this is a first degree crime. The jail range upon conviction is 10-20 years in prison and the maximum fine is $200,000. And while the offense does not involve a violent crime, the No Early Release Act (“NERA”) applies. What this means is that if you are found guilty of causing a drug induced death, you will have to serve 85% of the time on your sentence before you can even be considered for parole.
Call Our Newark Drug Death Lawyers For Immediate Assistance
A conviction to this offense must be strenuously battled otherwise you or your loved one will, in all likelihood, be incarcerated for a long time. This is where experience in fighting a drug distribution charge is so important and why our team is well suited for assisting you. Our defense attorneys have been successfully defending CDS offenses for decades now and are prepared to put there knowledge to work for you now. Call one of our former prosecutors for the assistance you deserve.