Three Drug Dealers Charged with First-Degree Murder Over Death of Customer
Three Florida residents have been charged with first-degree murder after one of their customers overdosed on a fentanyl pill. The victim believed he was purchasing Percocet from the dealers at the time of his death. Now, the three dealers have been charged with first-degree murder. In this article, the Tallahassee drug crime attorneys at Luke Newman, P.A. will discuss how murder charges can result from the death of an individual who purchased drugs from a drug dealer.
Murder charges for overdoses
A drug dealer can be charged with first-degree murder or manslaughter over the death of one of their customers. In the case mentioned above, the customer thought he was purchasing a Percocet pill which is several times less powerful than the fentanyl pill that he actually purchased. In this case, the drug dealers have been charged with the murder of the victim who purchased the pill. According to subsection three of the Florida statutes, an individual can be charged with first-degree murder if a death occurs as a result of the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. This includes, but is not limited to, fentanyl. Fentanyl causes the vast majority of overdoses of this sort because users find it difficult to gauge how much they should take and the potency of the drug is several times that of heroin.
State attorney seeks murder charges in drug overdose deaths
State attorney Melissa Nelson is a strong proponent of filing murder charges against drug dealers whose customers overdose on dangerous drugs. She sought murder charges against the drug dealers who were responsible for the death of an 18-year-old woman. The prosecution heralded a shift in policy whereby drug dealers could be charged with first-degree murder if their customers overdose. Amid the opioid epidemic, Americans are losing more lives to potent drugs like fentanyl every year. In Florida, that would mean that drug dealers would face life sentences if their customers overdosed on drugs that they supplied.
One of the issues arising out of these prosecutions is whether or not prosecutors can make the charges stick. Under Florida law, numerous drugs including heroin and cocaine are listed as the types of drugs that could give rise to murder charges in the event of an overdose. Fentanyl is not specifically listed as one of the drugs that can trigger a first-degree murder case. However, it is the most dangerous of all the drugs that are currently available on the black market. It also causes the vast majority of deaths, far more than heroin or cocaine.
The aggressive prosecution of these charges raises the stakes for those who traffic in illicit drugs.
Talk to a Tallahassee, FL Drug Trafficking Attorney Today
The Tallahassee drug crime attorneys at Luke Newman, P.A. represent the interests of those charged with drug crimes in Florida. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your defense immediately.