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Rarely used New Jersey statute being invoked more in drug cases

Due to the increase in deaths caused by heroin overdoses, New Jersey authorities are going after drug dealers for not only distributing drugs but also for contributing to the overdose-related deaths of drug users. If the drugs they may have sold can be proved to have been involved in an overdose, a person can end up facing harsh charges such as manslaughter, in addition other drug charges.

A recent example of this current trend involves a case where two men were charged with causing a drug-induced death of a man who died as a result of a heroin overdose. This heroin was traced back to the two young men, ages 19 and 20.

These types of cases can be difficult to prove for prosecutors, however, which is may be one reason why they were seldom seen until recently.

A third man from Patterson, New Jersey, was also arrested for heroin distribution on the same day as these two were charged with the more serious crimes. The third man was not charged in any way concerning the overdose of a drug user.

The 19 and 20-year-old defendants are charged with strict liability for a drug-induced death, which is a first-degree charges, and manslaughter. They are also facing heroin distribution charges.

Drug charges can result in very serious consequences for New Jersey residents and they should not be taken lightly. Facing charges related to causing an overdose death  can bring very harsh long-term penalties. It is important to understand your rights should you find yourself facing serious drug charges. 

Source: North Jersey Media Group, "Two alleged Paterson heroin dealers face drug-death charges in Allentown overdose case," Rebecca D. O'Brien, Feb. 21, 2014

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