Texas residents may be interested to learn that some states are beginning to prosecute individuals who are believed to be associated with a fatal overdose. These drug-induced homicide laws essentially put the blame for a person’s fatal overdose on the drug dealer or even friends or acquaintances who might have provided the deceased person with the drugs.
One 39-year-old woman in Philadelphia was facing charges after she provided her neighbor with heroin. Unbeknownst to either the woman or the neighbor, the heroin had been laced with fentanyl, a drug that can be deadly. The woman turned herself in to authorities after the neighbor’s wife found him dead of overdose. Even though the Philadelphia woman was a drug user herself and had just obtained the heroin as a favor for the neighbor, she was ultimately charged with third-degree murder.
Some states, like Pennsylvania, have been responding to the rising opioid crisis with major legal consequences, such as years or even decades in prison if individuals are convicted on charges of being associated with a fatal drug overdose. Even though these laws were originally focused on drug dealers alone, the definition of dealer is being changed to include almost any person who might be tied to drug use.
Although Texas does not have drug-induced homicide laws, the state takes any accusations of drug possession or drug distribution seriously. As such, the consequences can potentially include major fines, lengthy jail sentences and a criminal record that could prevent a person from seeking gainful employment. A criminal defense attorney may conduct a thorough, independent investigation into the accusations to look for any weaknesses or inconsistencies in the case. If there are major discrepancies or authorities did not follow proper procedures, the attorney might seek to have certain evidence thrown out.