While many people think of drug charges as being related to possession or dealing, there is much more to the equation than that. In some cases, those who deal drugs can be charged with a more serious crime. In 2003, Illinois adopted a drug-induced homicide law. Last year, 13 people in the state were convicted of this crime.
Why the change in the law?
The law was changed to make dealing drugs a more serious crime and to show those involved with illegal drugs that there were more consequences for their actions. However, the law stayed on the books for some time before prosecutors really started using it. While initially, prosecutors would not agree to file or seek these types of charges, now, the Chicago police department is considering applying the charges to those who traffic the drugs that lead to fatal overdoses.
Is the law needlessly punitive?
Not everyone believes these laws are beneficial. Among other things those who disagree with their application cite the fact that overdoses are accidents that occur when someone ingests drugs of their own free will. In addition, the laws might prevent someone considering help for their heroin addiction from seeking help. Further, when someone is convicted of the crime, while behind bars, he or she could find it difficult to take part in treatment or work release programs that could upon release, ultimately make their lives better.
For those who have been charged with drug-induced homicide or other drug-related charges, it is important to find a criminal defense lawyer that can help. In some cases it may be possible to reduce the charges or even have them dropped entirely. Attorney Stephen L. Richards has a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system. To learn how he may be of assistance to you with your criminal charge contact him online or call him at 866.852.6426.