Drug Delivery Resulting in Death

As the drug epidemic spreads across the United States — and throughout the state of Pennsylvania — law enforcement authorities and prosecutors have become more aggressive in investigating cases that involve drug delivery that results in death.

Drug delivery resulting in death (DDRID) is a serious felony offense that carries significant penalties.  If you have been charged with DDRID, then it’s important that you consult a qualified attorney as soon as possible so that your case can be evaluated in a timely manner and the best possible defense strategy can be developed.  The sooner that you can put forth an effective defense argument, the more leverage you will have during early negotiations with prosecutors.

Basics of a DDRID Charge

Section 2506 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes details the contours of a DDRID offense.  According to the statute, DDRID is a first-degree felony and requires that the prosecution show that the defendant:

  1. intentionally administered, dispensed, delivered, gave, prescribed, sold, or distributed any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act; and
  2. another person died as a result of using the substance.

Controlled substances include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

  • Opiates
  • Hallucinogens (such as Peyote and Mescaline)
  • Marijuana
  • PCP
  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Anabolic steroids
  • And more

Penalties for DDRID include up to 40 years imprisonment.

Prosecutors Have an Uphill Battle

Prosecutors often have difficulty proving that your actions (administering, dispensing, delivering, giving, prescribing, selling, or distributing a controlled substance) actually caused the victim’s death, whether through an overdose or some other adverse reaction to the substance.  It is quite common for those who abuse drugs to mix substances, such that it is unclear whether the substance you provided would have caused death had the victim not also taken other substances.

Suppose that you sell the victim some opiates.  The victim gets drunk, and then takes the opiates.  As a result, the victim dies.  It is not necessarily clear that the victim’s consumption of your opiates would have resulted in death but for the presence of alcohol in the victim’s system at the time.  If prosecutors cannot prove that the substance you provided is what directly and substantially contributed to the victim’s death, liability will not attach.

Contact a Seasoned Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation

If you have been charged with drug delivery resulting in death, or any other form of criminal homicide, then you could be exposed to penalties that include decades of imprisonment and substantial fines.  Pennsylvania is serious about enforcing DDRID against violators.  As such, prosecutors tend to be rather aggressive in their pursuit of justice.  In doing so, however, they are more likely to mischaracterize the offender’s actions and wrongfully charge those who are not really liable for the deaths at-issue.  It’s therefore critical that you work with a qualified attorney who can provide comprehensive assistance throughout the criminal litigation process.

Here at McKinney Law, we have extensive experience advocating on behalf of criminal defendant clients who have been charged with various homicide offenses, including drug delivery resulting in death.

We believe that effective representation demands close engagement with the client throughout the litigation process.  As such, we make ourselves available to clients for any phone or email inquiries and are willing to schedule consultations after regular business hours if necessary.

Interested in speaking to an attorney about your case?

Call (412) 520-3301 or submit an online message to connect to an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer at McKinney Law for a free and no-obligation consultation.  We will get back to you regarding any and all inquiries within just 24 hours.