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Drug Dealers in Michigan could be Held Criminally and Civilly Liable 

Jan 3rd, 2018 Felony Offenses Marijuana Laws Drug Dealers in Michigan could be Held Criminally and Civilly Liable 

Under federal law, all states can charge a drug dealer with causing the death of a person if the person they sold the drugs to experiences an overdose and dies as a result. But whether the individual states enforce that law and what drugs are eligible for laying charges really lies with the district attorney in any one state. In Michigan, law enforcement and the state’s prosecution does not hesitate to invoke the law, meaning that drug dealers there could face severe punishment in the case of overdoses.

Cases in Michigan become prevalent even before the fentanyl crisis that is now hitting the country reached its peak. During the years of 2010 to 2013, there were 75 convictions in Michigan that sent drug dealers to prison after their drugs caused an overdose resulting in death or serious injury.

And while some Michigan counties, such as Wayne County in Detroit, still have not filed one drug-related homicide charge, it does not mean it could not happen. As the opioid crisis continues, these are areas that could begin to see more charges being filed and more prison time being served.

But Michigan, along with several other states, has adopted the model Drug Dealer Liability Act (DDLA). This Act would allow those hurt by an overdose, whether it is the individual that overdosed or the family of the person, to file a civil claim that would allow them to claim compensation for any overdose.

These cases are easier for the plaintiff, or the one filing the lawsuit, to prove than criminal cases. This is because in a criminal case the prosecution needs to prove that the drug dealer supplied the individual with the drug and that it was that drug that caused the overdose. When drugs such as fentanyl are mixed with other drugs, even marijuana, these cases become much more difficult to prove.

But in a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff only needs to prove that drug dealer was selling or distributing illegal drugs in the same community as the plaintiff and that it was the same type of drug that caused the plaintiff’s overdose. It does not need to be proven that the drug dealer supplied that particular individual with the drug in question.

The laws that Michigan heavily enforces surrounding drug-induced homicides are a prevention effort to try and stop the amount of overdoses being seen within the state. The idea behind the laws is that if drug dealers feel more of a responsibility to the community, they will take action on their own to stop selling drugs that are laced with fentanyl and other opioids such as heroin. If you have been charged with drug-related homicide, or you want to know more about the Drug Dealer Liability Act, consult a capable defense attorney that could answer your questions and defend you.