Fighting Drug-Induced Homicide Charges in Illinois

Posted on in Drug Crimes

homicide, drug-induced homicide, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerThere is a heroin epidemic that is gripping the nation, and Illinois has been as deeply affected by it as any other state. Some Illinois officials are saying the epidemic should be labeled a "medical emergency," with over 1,000 lives lost over the last three years. One county has seen a 200 percent increase in heroin overdoses in a four year period.

With so many people dying from drugs, a previously rarely-used law now appears to be gaining popularity among law enforcement and prosecutors, leaving many to question just how is this new legal trend helping those that need it the most – the addicts.

The provision under Illinois law regarding drug-induced homicide allows for the prosecution of anyone who delivers a drug to another individual if individual ends up dying from the use of that drug. The original intent of the law was to create an additional avenue of prosecution against drug dealers; however, there are several different legal interpretations of what "delivery" of the drug means. There does not have to be an exchange of currency or other item that would constitute a sale of the drug. One person simply handing the other person the drug – such as two friends who are doing the drugs together – constitutes a delivery under the law.

A charge of drug-induced homicide is a Class X felony, and if found guilty, a person can up to 30 years in prison. As with most criminal convictions, the circumstances of each case can affect sentencing.

This was the scenario for one young woman who was charged and sentenced under the state’s drug-induces homicide law. According to court records, the 25-year-old woman brought heroin to a friend’s house. The women ingested the heroin and went to sleep. The next morning, the friend was dead from a heroin overdose. Police charged the defendant who later pleaded guilty under a plea bargain with prosecutors. She was recently sentenced to seven years in prison. Under the law, she is required to serve at least 75 percent of that time in jail.

Critics of the law say that instead of charging and sending addicts to prison, there should be an effort to get these people the help they need. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call the Law Offices of Scott F. Anderson at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation today. We represent clients throughout Cook, Lake, DuPage and McHenry Counties.