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Matthew Radefeld & Dan Juengel
Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

Drug trafficking charges can get very serious when someone overdoses

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2020 | Drug Crimes |

All felony drug charges on the books in Missouri are serious. But when the authorities accuse you of causing someone’s death by supplying them with a controlled substance, you will likely face a felony murder charge.

Normally in homicide charges, prosecutors must prove that the defendant intended to cause the victim’s death. But Missouri’s criminal code has an exception when the defendant allegedly committed some other felony and the other person died as a result. In the drug crimes context, this often means that the buyer in a drug deal subsequently overdoses and dies. The fact that the person who sold or distributed the quantity of drugs to the deceased probably did not want the deceased to pass away is irrelevant. Neither does the prosecution have to prove that the defendant was at the scene of the death.

Arrested after woman dies of fentanyl overdose

Recently, sheriff’s deputies arrested a Missouri man on a second-degree murder charge after a woman died of an apparent fentanyl overdose. Authorities claim the man gave the woman a drug capsule containing fentanyl, which she later consumed. They also say the man acknowledged giving the capsule to the woman to deputies, as well as in a phone call to her grandmother.

Death during the commission of a felony

In Missouri, a second-degree murder conviction related to the commission or attempt of a felony imposes a sentence on top of the underlying felony charge. Second-degree murder is a Class A felony with a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to 30 years or a life term. Clearly, an overdose death is taken very seriously by the authorities, and a conviction could take away your freedom permanently.

However, just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean you will be convicted or that you must plead guilty. A skilled defense attorney can be indispensable when dealing with felony charges like murder or some drug crimes.