What You Should Know About Drug Induced Homicide

Drug-induced homicide laws are putting drug dealers, as well as friends and family who share drugs behind bars.

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Drug-Induced Homicide Laws

When a person sells or shares drugs with another person who dies from an overdose, the person who supplied the drugs can be charged drug-induced homicide. With the steep rise in drug addiction and overdose deaths in recent years, many states have adopted drug-induced homicide laws to help fight the war on drugs. According to the New York Times, 36 states have prosecuted drug-induced homicides. Between 2015 and 2017, records show that drug-induced homicide cases doubled across the country and quadrupled in Minnesota. Criminal charges in these cases ranged from involuntary manslaughter to second-degree murder.

The opioid epidemic in America has created a public health crisis. In 2016, opioid overdose deaths killed one percent of the U.S. population, more than all deaths from the Vietnam War. Opioid overdose is responsible for 20 percent of deaths in American young people between ages 25-34. To address these problems, many states have created a Drug Task Force to enforce drug-induced homicide laws when overdose victims die from shared drugs. In New York, a woman was convicted of drug-induced homicide and sentenced to six years in prison for mailing a friend drugs who died of an overdose. In Florida, a man injected his girlfriend with what he thought was heroin. It turned out to be Fentanyl and the girl died of an overdose. The man was charged with second-degree murder.

Although drug-induced homicide laws were enacted to deter drug sales and drug use, research shows that they do not deter either. Many health experts argue that drug addiction is a mental health issue that is not a part of a person’s free will. This raises questions and concerns about induced-homicide charges imposed on people who are addicts themselves and share drugs with other addicts. Should these people be held liable for overdose deaths? In many cases, drug addicts often discover other addicts or friends who have overdosed. Would calling for help put them at risk for criminal offense charges?

Drug-induced homicide laws are controversial. Some states argue that these laws deter drug dealers, while others argue that they simply put more addicts in jail where their addiction becomes worse. Health experts argue that the money spent on prosecution, conviction, and housing a person in jail would be better spent on drug treatment and recovery.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.