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An accidental overdose can bring serious criminal charges

It happens every day in this country and around the world. People bring drugs over to a friend's house so they can get high together. Siblings combine their allowance money to buy drugs online or from someone in the neighborhood. Someone goes to a party where everyone is sharing their drugs.

Then someone overdoses and dies. No one forced anyone to take the drugs. No one sold them to the overdose victim. Can you be charged with a crime? In many cases, you can face manslaughter or even murder charges.

Even if you bought drugs for a friend and he simply reimbursed you for them, you could find yourself charged with crimes more commonly associated with drug dealers. A number of states have laws that hold anyone who "delivered" the drugs that caused someone's death responsible — no matter how informal that delivery was.

According to a recent report in The New York Times involving overdose deaths in 15 states, homicide prosecutions increased nearly twofold between 2015 and 2017.

Some people argue that holding family and friends responsible for overdose deaths doesn't address the underlying problems of drug abuse and addiction. However, prosecutors increasingly have a number of laws in their arsenals that they can use to charge people whom they believe bear some responsibility for drug fatalities. One prosecutor says, "I look at it in a real micro way. You owe me for that dead kid."

If you or a loved one is facing charges related to a drug overdose death, it's essential to take the matter seriously. Tennessee criminal defense attorneys with experience handling drug-related charges can work to get the charges lessened or dropped completely, depending on the circumstances and evidence. It's essential that your rights are protected and that you have the opportunity to present your case as you face charges that could impact the rest of your life.

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