Legal Blog

New Law May Lead to Increased Penalties for Dealers Connected to Overdose Deaths

16 April 2018 | Drug Charges,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

16 April 2018

Drug Charges,  

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Many people are concerned about the growing drug and opioid epidemic over the last several years in the United States. Indiana lawmakers are seeking to use their power to severely crack down on drug traffickers involved in the manufacturing and sale of deadly substances.

The state’s recent House Bill 1359 is meant to give prosecutors significant power in increasing the charges that they can file against offenders. Specifically, this new law will allow for much harsher charges to be brought against drug offenders who traffic substances that result in a person’s death. If you have been arrested for a drug crime, you may be in danger of spending years in prison and having a permanent criminal record. That’s why you should not delay in calling your drug crimes lawyer after an arrest.

Contact an Indianapolis drug lawyer at Hessler Law to speak with an experienced Indianapolis drug lawyer about your defense after an arrest. Call us today at (317) 886-8800 for a free case review.

Indiana House Bill 1359

The new law in House Bill 1359 is meant to give prosecutors significant discretion when they approach a case that involves a drug death. This law allows for a person to be charged in connection with the death that resulted from the use of drugs that they made, transported, or sold. This means that the lowest drug charge could, upon the death of a victim, be upgraded to the highest level which allows for up to 40 years in prison.

This law does not require anybody to intentionally kill someone, and you can be facing years in prison if someone accidentally dies in cases, such as:

  • Consumes a deadly amount of drugs that you are found to have trafficked
  • Has a deadly allergic reaction to drugs you provided
  • Mixes your drugs into a fatal combination with other substances

Opponents argue that this new law is too harsh since it doesn’t require deadly intent be proven before sending someone to prison for many years. Additionally, opponents say that this law could end up costing taxpayers vast sums of money due to lengthy prison sentences for people who previously would have had short sentences or no prison time at all. Either way, it is clear that this law gives prosecutors the tremendous power to charge you with severe crimes if your drug incident turns deadly for someone else.

Defenses Against Your Drug Crime Charges

Even though Indiana’s new drug law can result in your charges being extremely harsh, your defense attorney can keep you out of prison by building a strong defense against your underlying trafficking charges. Hessler Law has many years of experience helping our clients protect their rights after being accused of dealing drugs, and the many defenses that we might use to help you include:

  • You did not have the required intent – The prosecution still needs to prove that you intended to possess drugs if you are to be found guilty of trafficking. Maybe you did not know that someone had left a controlled substance hidden in your home or vehicle.
  • The police violated your rights in a search – Law enforcement must have probable cause to search you.
  • You are the victim of mistaken identity – Many times an accuser is found to have lied to save themselves from being charged with a crime or to get back at someone as part of a previous dispute.
  • You are the victim of entrapment – This can be the case if the police violate your rights by having you do something that you otherwise would not have done.

A Lawyer From Hessler Law Can Help You

Indiana’s new drug law is meant to be a powerful asset in fighting the opioid epidemic. It seeks to reduce drug deaths by allowing a prosecutor to pursue harsh charges against an accused drug dealer who may have a connection to an overdose death.

If you have been charged with a drug trafficking crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Do not hesitate to call an Indianapolis drug lawyer at Hessler Law as soon as possible.

Contact us at (317) 886-8800 to discuss your case and your options going forward during a free and confidential case assessment.