Defendants charged with drug crimes may not realize they could also be subjected to manslaughter charges if a drug user dies while using their product. Although this phenomenon happens in other states, prosecutors rarely choose to enforce such specific laws. Now, though, prosecutors in New Jersey are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to stem the rising tide of opiate deaths in their region.
Authorities report two male defendants, ages 22 and 33, are facing criminal charges for manslaughter and inducing a drug death in connection with their alleged drug dealing. A shocking 62 people have died in their county since Jan. 1, according to officers. That number sharply contrasts with the 53 drug deaths discovered during the entire 2012 calendar year. It appears that prosecutors are attempting to make an example of these two defendants by pursuing extra charges.
Attorneys in the area seem hesitant to support such a move, as strict liability prosecution is often difficult to prove. The prosecutors in this case must definitively prove the addicts who died were linked to these specific drug dealers. Still, government officials have filed these liability charges against not only the two aforementioned defendants, but also against several other individuals who are accused of dealing heroin.
The prosecutions come in the wake of a rising percentage of heroin users in the area. A 28 percent hike in fatality rates from 2010 to 2011 has public health and legal professionals concerned. The two men in this case are accused of selling heroin to two victims in their 20s.
If you are facing a strict liability case, you should know that prosecutors may not be successful in their attempts to make such charges relevant to your situation. These tenuous ties can be exploited by a skillful criminal defense attorney, who may be able to circumvent the legal system to obtain an optimal outcome. If you are concerned about the outcome of your drug case, do not delay in contacting a qualified defense attorney to help protect your legal rights.
Source: www.nj.com, "Ocean prosecutors charge two with manslaughter in overdose deaths" James Queally, Jun. 27, 2013