How A Drug Overdose Death Can Lead to Murder Charges in Missouri

A passed out man is holding an empty bottle of prescription pills - depicting the effects of delivery of a controlled substance in Missouri and how it can lead to second degree murder.

Opioid-related deaths have jumped by more than 30% in the last year. Fortunately, Missouri offers a few programs for addicts to rehabilitate themselves (while potentially avoiding jail time). 

On the other hand, individuals caught selling drugs in Missouri face some of the harshest penalties in the nation. That’s particularly true if the drugs you distribute cause someone to overdose and die. 

Have you been charged with delivering a controlled substance and/or second degree murder in Missouri? If so, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven criminal defense lawyer in Jefferson City, MO

Contact us today at 573-222-0826 for your free initial consultation. 

Learn how a drug overdose can lead to second degree murder charges in Missouri below. 

Examples of Missouri Murder Charges Filed For Drug Overdose

Prosecutors increasingly charge individuals with second degree murder in Missouri if the drugs they sell are suspected of causing death. Take a look at a few of the most recent examples: 

  • October 2020: Man charged with second degree Murder in MO for drug overdose. 

The examples above show that district attorneys in Missouri take drug overdose deaths seriously. They face pressure from all sides (i.e., media, public, legislatures, etc.) to prosecute drug overdose cases to the fullest extent of the law. 

With that in mind, working with a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer is your best chance at decreased or dismissed charges. 

What is Delivery of a Controlled Substance in Missouri? 

You can be charged with delivery of a controlled substance in Missouri if you:

  • Knowingly distribute or deliver a controlled substance.
  • Attempt to deliver a controlled substance in Missouri. 
  • Consciously possess a controlled substance (in any amount) with the intent to distribute.
  • Knowingly allow a minor child to buy or transport an illegally obtained controlled substance.

What Are the Penalties For Delivering a Controlled Substance in Missouri? 

Delivery of a controlled substance ranges from a class E to a Class B felony offense (Revised Statutes of Missouri § 579.020) in Missouri. Exact charges depend on the type of drugs delivered, quantities, and many other factors. 

Unlawfully delivering drugs (or attempting to) can lead to extensive prison time (up to 15 years for Class B Felonies). If convicted, your life will undoubtedly change forever. For that reason, it’s essential to hire a proven Jefferson City criminal defense lawyer who will fight for your freedom. 

What is Second Degree Murder in Missouri? 

If you’re delivering drugs like heroin, fentanyl, meth, etc., there’s a high chance that your product could lead to death. 

That information is easily accessible, public knowledge, and universally known. With that in mind, the prosecution is very likely to charge suspected drug dealers with second degree murder for overdose deaths. 

According to § 565.021, you can be convicted of second degree murder in Missouri if: 

  1. You knowingly cause the death of another person with the intent of causing serious physical injury.
  1. A person dies during the perpetration, attempted perpetration, or flight from a felony offense. 

Continue reading to learn why it’s essential to work with a criminal defense lawyer in Jefferson City that has handled these cases.

Potential Defenses to Murder by Drug Overdose Charges

The prosecution must prove a few things before a judge or jury convicts for a drug overdose death in Missouri. They include, but are not limited to:

  1. The accused actually committed the underlying (also called “predicate”) felony, in this case, delivery of a controlled substance.
  1. The delivery of a controlled substance was a cause of the death. 

Mounting a solid defense against second degree murder charges in Missouri often requires the skills and experience of a proven criminal defense lawyer. 

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Jefferson City Today 

If you’re charged with delivering a controlled substance and second degree murder in Missouri, don’t gamble with your future. It’s not worth the risk. 

The criminal defense team at Kirsch & Kirsch is here to help. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.