In cases in which someone dies of a drug-related overdose, the law has established that it can prosecute these crimes as homicides. What type of homicide is a different story. In several states, providing addicts with drugs can be prosecuted as a felony murder charge. The Chicago PD has quietly begun investigating drug deaths to build homicide cases against drug dealers.
How do Chicago criminal defense attorneys feel about that? Well, let me tell you.
What is a “Drug-Induced Homicide”?
A drug-induced homicide can only be committed by a criminal. Herein lies the major problem with such legislation. While we know from ample evidence that the vast majority of those who were introduced to opioids went through the normal channels of their doctor, you will never see a doctor, nor the drug executives who lied to doctors about how addictive their drugs were, face any charge related to any death. So, while prosecuting drug dealers may have some merit, the selective prosecution of those who sell drugs on the streets will not help at all.
Street-level drug dealers are a dime a dozen. They get a supply of drugs, sell the drugs, kick up a specified amount to their dealer, and keep the rest as a wage. It is probably one of the worst jobs you can have. Not only are your chances of encountering a violent customer quite good, but you also take all the risk when it comes to getting popped by the law. That begs the question: Why would anyone do this in the first place? Well, like most jobs, you may be hoping for a promotion. Or, it is simply the only job available to you.
In other words, these street-level dealers are not typically criminal masterminds. They are the ones at the bottom of the totem pole who take all the risk and get little of the reward. Ultimately, these are the folks who are getting charged with “drug-induced homicides.”
Who is Not Getting Charged With Drug-Induced Homicides?
Here is a brief list of folks who will not face drug-induced homicide charges:
- Drug kingpins
- National/International drug distribution coordinators
- Opioid company executives
- Pill mill operators who illegally acquire opioid pills from drug companies
- Drug companies
- Gang members
So, essentially, we are once again placing pressure where it does not belong — on those who have very little power within the drug trafficking organization. Those who are generally set up as patsies by those who move thousands of pounds as opposed to individual doses.
So no, this legislation will not fix anything. It will end up destroying more lives without addressing the key systemic issues that cause drug addiction, and it will hold those with the least amount of power to affect the criminal organization singularly accountable for a drug-induced death. In other words, not one drug kingpin is worried about this law.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with causing a drug-induced homicide, you need an attorney who will passionately advocate on your behalf. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to discuss your situation and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.