Ohio residents may have heard about some of the actions local authorities are taking to reduce the alarmingly high rate of heroin overdose-related deaths occurring in the state. According to statistics, almost 1,000 residents are dying from these overdoses every year. This number is four times higher than it was in 2008. As a result, many alleged heroin dealers are facing greater enforcement from local police and prosecutors.
Authorities are now pursuing the people who purportedly sold the drugs to the person who died from an overdose. Investigators are now reviewing some of these decedents’ phone records for any data indicating who may be responsible for selling them the heroin. The dealer may be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death and face incarceration if convicted.
As the heroin epidemic worsens, authorities expect to indict more dealers on these charges. Prosecutors around the country are now paying more attention to the rising number of fatal heroin overdoses. In some states, the sentence if convicted can be as long as 40 years to life. One Ohio state representative is already pushing a bill that could charge the dealer with aggravated murder, although at least one legal observer believes that there are elements that are missing from a typical murder charge, such as intent.
A person who has been accused of possession of or trafficking in heroin or other dangerous substances may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after the charges have been handed down. In some cases, the attorney can question the validity of the search that led to the seizure of the drugs, while in others, it may be possible to reach an agreement with the prosecutor that would involve a plea of guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduction in penalties.