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Third-degree murder charges — are they fair for drug dealers?

When a person uses drugs illegally and overdoses, it's not just that person who was committing a crime. The person who sold the drugs to the victim can be accused of crimes that can include murder in some cases. Is that fair? That's a question asked in a recent news article about a young man who passed away.

According to recent media reports, the young man had been using heroin. His mother found out and placed him in a treatment center. She went as far as to monitor who he spoke to as well. At one point, she located a woman she suspected to be selling heroin to her son and took down the woman's license plate. Police allegedly didn't pursue the claim, so she confronted the woman and threatened her.

Although he had treatment, her son died from a heroin overdose at only 20 years old. Could the woman who was selling him heroin be guilty of murder, though? The man's mother wants to make sure she is held accountable.

Interestingly, there is a state law that prohibits supplying the drugs that result in someone's death. Because it's a crime, a person can be charged with third-degree murder.

The woman selling drugs in this case had already been charged by the county attorney for two other deaths. This latest overdose death is the third being pursued by police and prosecutors against her.

If you have been accused of this crime, it's important to defend yourself vigorously. With the possibility of a third-degree murder charge, it's vital that you can explain why you shouldn't be held accountable. Some argue that while a person sold another person drugs, no one forced the alleged victim to take them. That in itself is a defense for some, but there are also other options.

Source: Duluth News Tribune, "It's an opioid overdose death. But is it a murder?," Jon Collins, July 31, 2016

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