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Middlesex County Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Over 200 Years of Combined Experience
  • Former Director in Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office
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Drug Induced Death Offense

New Brunswick Drug Induced Death Defense Lawyer

Any person who illegally manufactures, distributes, or dispenses drugs is strictly liable under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9 for deaths which result from the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of that substance. A conviction for this offense is a first degree crime, New Jersey’s highest grade of criminal charge. If you have been charged with causing an overdose pursuant to 2C:35-9, we have highly skilled lawyers to assist you. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been defending complex felony criminal cases at the Superior Court in New Brunswick for decades and possess the skills necessary to succeed on your behalf. In fact, our team even includes a lawyer that was a supervisor in the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The following is a summary of the drug induced death law and is intended to provide general information concerning this offense. We encourage you to contact our New Brunswick Office at 732-246-7126 to discuss your charge in more detail with an attorney on our staff.

New Jersey Drug Induced Death Law – N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9

The law that applies to this offense is N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9. This law provides that:

2C:35-9.     Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Deaths

a.   Any person who manufactures, distributes or dispenses methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine or any other controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedules I or II, or any controlled substance analog thereof, in violation of subsection a. of N.J.S. 2C:35-5, is strictly liable for a death which results from the injection, inhalation or ingestion of that substance, and is guilty of a crime of the first degree.

b.   The provisions of N.J.S. 2C:2-3 (governing the causal relationship between conduct and result) shall not apply in a prosecution under this section.  For purposes of this offense, the defendant’s act of manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a substance is the cause of a death when:

(1)  The injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance is an antecedent but for which the death would not have occurred;and

(2)  The death was not:

(a)  too remote in its occurrence as to have a just bearing on the defendant’s liability; or

(b)  too dependent upon conduct of another person which was unrelated to the injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance or its effect as to have a just bearing on the defendant’s liability.

c.   It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section that the decedent contributed to his own death by his purposeful, knowing, reckless or negligent injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance, or by his consenting to the administration of the substance by another.

d.   Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit any prosecution for homicide.  Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for leader of narcotics trafficking network, maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, or for unlawfully manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense the controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog which resulted in the death.

Drugs That Fall Within This Law. Any and all drugs and forms of CDS classified on Schedule I or Schedule II, as well as methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, and phencyclidin, fall under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9.

What Does The State Have To Show To Prove A Violation? Since this law is strict liability based, all the state needs to prove is that the defendant provided the drug and that its ingestion caused the death of the victim. There is no requirement that the prosecutor demonstrate that the accused intended this result or outcome. All that must be shown is that the distribution of the drug was an antecedent but-for which the death would not have occurred.

Defenses. A person is not liable under this law if he genuinely believed he was giving the victim something other than a drug, for example, an imitation like sugar, flour, etc.  Another defense is that the drug was not manufactured, distributed, or dispensed by the defendant or he lacked knowledge and/or intent to provide a “controlled dangerous substance.”

Penalties. The penalties associated with this offense are quite severe.  Since this is a first degree crime, an individual is subject to a prison term of 10 to 20 years if they are found guilty. A fine of up to $200,000 may also be imposed.

Edison NJ Drug Induced Death Attorneys

While Edison is a somewhat effluent community, that does not mean that it is immune to serious criminal offenses like causing a drug induced death. Abuse of CDS crosses all boundaries and occurs countywide from Metuchen to Monroe and Perth Amboy to Piscataway. Irrespective, the stakes are high for anyone charged with causing a drug induced death in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9. If you find yourself facing such a serious offense, you need an experienced lawyer. This is where we can help. Give our Piscataway Office a call at 732-562-0308 for immediate assist.