It isn’t news that illegal drug use in North Dakota is a serious problem. In an effort to help curb the sale of such drugs, lawmakers are considering making penalties drug traffickers face more severe if a drug deal leads to an overdose death. A bill to that effect just passed the House and has moved on to the Senate for consideration.
What is in the bill?
As it currently stands, drug dealers may be held accountable for selling drugs to their victims, but face what law enforcement officers believe are only relatively minor penalties if a sale results in a person’s death — up to five years behind bars. A bill working its way through the halls of government would increase the length of incarceration up to 20 years for the same offense. This is what law enforcement officers and lawmakers believe is a more meaningful punishment for the crime.
There is one thing this bill will not affect, and that is the good Samaritan law. Right now, if a person is present when another individual overdoses on drugs and he or she calls 911 to report it, that person cannot be charged for his or her role in the incident. Drug dealers don’t usually benefit from this law, as they typically leave after their transaction is complete.
Criminal defense matters
Those accused of drug trafficking in the state of North Dakota already face significant penalties if they are charged and convicted. This bill, if passed, is not going to make things easier on these individuals. The criminal defense they put forth could make all the difference in their cases. Those who find themselves accused of drug trafficking and contributing to an overdose death can help themselves by turning to an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance working through the criminal court system and help seeking the best outcome possible.