Maryland readers are likely aware of the problem of prescription drug abuse, which is an issue across the United States. Pain pill abuse and addiction is a big enough problem that there has been sharp criticism of the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve OxyContin for sick children between the ages of 11 and 16.
In our last couple posts, we spoke about two important factors regarding admissibility of evidence at trial that must be considered when building a strong criminal defense case. These factors, as we noted, are relevance and reliability. As important as these factors are in scrutinizing evidence, there is yet a third factor that has to be considered as well.
We’ve been discussing the issue of federal fatal drug overdose charges, particularly the importance of working with an experienced attorney to scrutinize whether the elements of drug charges are fully supported by the evidence.
In our last post, we wrote about a recent push in the Maryland House to allow state level charges for drug dealers who contribute to the fatal overdose of a client. As we pointed out, there is already such a law at the federal level. The law applies not only to heroin cases, but also to cases involving other opiates, including morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.
With the problem of spreading heroin use gaining greater attention in Maryland in recent months, it makes sense that state lawmakers in the House are currently contemplating a bill that would increase penalties for those who deal the dangerous drug. The bill would allow prosecutors to charge dealers or heroin or fentanyl when one of their clients overdoses.
Drug charges are bad enough on their own, but when they rise up to the federal level, things can get really ugly. Federal drug crimes are often pursued vigorously by prosecutors, and they will employ all sorts of tactics to get an individual to accept some form of punishment. They will tack on numerous charges that may seem flimsy but are technically applicable under the law.
Though there has been a lot of talk recently about easing up the penalties and consequences that people who are convicted of committing drug crimes are subjected to, there are still plenty of people serving heavy jail time for non-violent crimes that involve drugs. It feel, more and more, that the stigma attached to drugs is the key driving force behind these astonishing punishments.