Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Many States Now Charge Dealers with Murders if Their Customers Overdose – Massachusetts Could Be Next

Facing drug charges is one thing, but facing murder or manslaughter charges is another matter altogether. Drug dealers could one day face criminal consequences for the overdose deaths of their customers – although some lawmakers would say that the better word is “victims.” Are we close to creating these kinds of laws in Massachusetts? What might happen if you face these kinds of charges in the future? The most important thing to realize is that you need help from a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney if you face drug charges of any kind in Massachusetts.  

Senator Wants Drug Dealers to Face Murder Charges for Overdoses

On January 18th, it was reported that Senator Patrick O’Connor had proposed a bill that would make drug dealers criminally responsible for the overdose deaths of their customers. Speaking about the proposed bill, O’Connor said:

“I think every senator or representative has family or knows someone that has lost loved ones to this crisis. But at this time, with what we know is going on in our towns, we need to give our district attorneys some tools.”

Why You Cannot Be Charged with Murder or Manslaughter for Overdose Deaths

Fortunately, O’Connor’s bill had not been accepted – at least not yet. Will Massachusetts one day have similar laws to Florida or Illinois? Only time will tell. But for the time being, the matter has been settled in court. Back in 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a graduate student who had supplied a fellow student with drugs could not be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the resulting overdose death. It was determined that the individual needed to have acted in a “wanton or reckless” manner in order to be held criminally liable for the death. 

However, the Supreme Court did leave the door open to potential guilty verdicts. They explained that if the drug dealer had a clear reason to believe that the customer was going to overdose, he could potentially face criminal consequences. For example, he might have known that the student had a specific medical condition that made him more likely to overdose. Whatever the case may be, it is important to fight these charges in the best way possible, as involuntary manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years – and that is on top of any drug offenses you might be facing. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants fight for their rights and avoid needlessly excessive penalties. Based on current and established Massachusetts law, there is no reason you should face murder or manslaughter charges for the overdose deaths of other people. However, you still need to defend yourself effectively and utilize a solid defense strategy. Book your consultation today, and we can help you do just that.