Murder Involving Narcotics
Facing Drug Related Murder Charges in Pennsylvania
Learn about what drug related murder is in Pennsylvania and what to do if you or a loved one is facing accusations or criminal homicide charges. Facing drug related murder is a pivotable moment in a person’s life. Is it the time to reach out to an inexperienced criminal attorney or a former prosecutor who touts his convictions but lacks experience gaining murder acquittals? Before it’s too late, call our team. Facing third degree murder charges anywhere in Pennsylvania and need help, call the Ciccarelli Legal Team at (610) 692-8700.
Getting the Best Defense where you are facing Drug Related Murder Charges
Reach out to the Ciccarelli Legal Team, when you are facing a drug related murder in the greater Philadelphia metro area, including Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County and throughout Pennsylvania. Then ask yourself, why you are not calling now and scheduling a time to meet with the Ciccarelli Legal Team. Call now at (610) 692-8700.
Our legal team of lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices is ready to fight for you. When the threat of prosecution for homicide and murder is real, you need to look for the best options and find a top murder defense team serving Chester County and beyond. Based in West Chester (Chester County) in the Philadelphia Metro Area, the Ciccarelli Legal Team defends the rights of murder and homicide defendants throughout Pennsylvania.
Information on a Chester County Drug Related Murder Charge
There has been a sharp increase in such charges in Pennsylvania over the past few years, possibly due to the fact that in 2014, 3,500 Pennsylvania residents died of a drug overdose, in particular, heroin. Many of those with drug problems have turned to heroin as an alternative to more expensive narcotics, however because heroin is so addictive, overdose deaths are up, and, in response, charges for Drug Delivery in Death have also increased. This charge is a first-degree felony which means a person convicted of this offense could face up to 40 years in prison.
Pennsylvania Coroner Announces He will Classify any Heroin-Related Death as a Homicide
An article in Forbes delved into this issue, after a Pennsylvania coroner claimed he intends to classify any heroin-related death as a homicide rather than an accident going forth. In fact, the Lycoming County Coroner announced that if one person sells heroin to another, who subsequently dies, then “If you are dealing drugs, you are a murderer…although you may not know who you are killing.” Although many may agree with this statement, in fact it is not a legal reality.
If a bar owner sells alcohol to someone who goes home and excessively consumes the alcohol, then later dies of alcohol poisoning, could the bar owner possibly be charged with murder? Clearly, murder charges in such a case would never happen, both because the bar owner did not intend the result and because if the buyer of the alcohol had not engaged in reckless consumption, the death would not have occurred. Yet despite this, the state of Pennsylvania charged more than 200 people with Drug Delivery in Death.
Defenses to Murder Involving Narcotics
If you are facing the charge of Drug Delivery in Death, you may have a number of legal defenses, including potential constitutional violations (search and seizure violations). Quite often, charges are wholly dependent upon physical evidence obtained by the police or incriminating confessions made to detectives. If the evidence was gathered through a violation of the law, or if your confession was garnered without benefit of ensuring you were aware of your Miranda rights, then your attorney may be able to have one or both excluded. While your specific defense will depend on the circumstances surrounding your charges and arrest, some of the potential defenses a murder which involves narcotics include:
- Insufficient Evidence—There may not be enough solid evidence to show that you were actually the person who provided the decedent with the drugs which led to the overdose as well as whether those drugs actually caused the death.
- Expert Toxicologist Report—Your attorney may choose to retain an expert toxicologist to challenge the assertion by the prosecution that the drugs you provided were actually responsible for the death.
- Though not a defense, per se, your attorney may be able to negotiate on your behalf for a reduced charge. Although your case will be fully investigated and prepared for trial in order to present the strongest defense, if the evidence against you is strong, it could be time to present a mitigation package to the prosecutor.
Additional Information Regarding Murder Involving Narcotics
Drug Delivery Resulting in Death is a fairly new offense in the state of Pennsylvania; while it existed for many years, amendments were made in 2006 which allowed prosecutors much greater leeway in obtaining convictions for the offense. Drug Delivery Resulting in Death is a type of homicide, similar in nature to charges of third-degree murder. The statute is very broad, allowing it to be used to punish both those who deal in illicit drugs as well as those who use drugs. In some instances, prosecutors can use the statute to charge a person using drugs who shared those drugs with an acquaintance, should that acquaintance then overdose and die. In order to obtain a conviction for this crime, it must be definitively shown that you intentionally “administered, dispensed, delivered, gave, prescribed, sold or distributed” any type of controlled substance and that the victim died as a result of those drugs or controlled substances.
Despite the overly broad nature of the statute, challenges based on this vagueness have been repeatedly rejected, particularly when the issue appears to be that the statute requires some level of intent. In 2006, the Pennsylvania legislature specifically amended the prior requirement that some level of malice be involved in the crime. Therefore, the prosecution must only show that the drug illegally provided by the defendant caused the death of another person. Given the extremely high potential maximum sentence it is imperative that the charges be taken seriously and that an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney be a part of the equation from the beginning.
Get The “Right Defense” When facing Pennsylvania Drug Related Murder Charges
When you or a loved one is facing drug related murder allegations or charges, gain the benefit and experience of the Ciccarelli Legal Team. Ciccarelli Law Offices brings years of experience defending clients, demanding justice and fighting for acquittals. Our team is ready to represent you when you are facing homicide and murder charges in Pennsylvania. We are based in based in suburban Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us at (610) 692-8700.