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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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The “Strict Liability Charge” You Never Heard About

Being arrested and possibly charged with intent to distribute an illicit substance is a serious situation. However, things will quickly go from bad to worse if someone died after getting drugs from you. The charge of being linked to a person’s overdose death is called the “Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death” charge.

If you can be directly linked to a person’s drug overdose death, New Jersey prosecutors can place the responsibility of that death at your feet. Much like murder and manslaughter charges, being charged with a Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death charge is a first degree felony, which means that it will come with a mandatory minimum jail time sentence. First degree felonies in New Jersey carry a minimum of 10 years in prison, with 20-year minimums often being the norm for charges that resulted in a person’s death.

In order to have this charge brought against you, though, there needs to be a direct link with evidence of you giving the deceased the drug and it has to involve a Schedule I or II drug that caused the overdose. Schedule I substances have no accepted medical use in the United States and are not considered safe. Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Schedule II drugs have a strong potential for abuse. They include morphine and other painkillers.

Drug charges of any level can result in severe penalties, loss of a job and time spent behind bars. If you are facing drug charges in the state of New Jersey, it’s important to find a skilled and experienced lawyer to help you navigate through the exceptionally complex laws in this state. Call the Law Office of John W. Tumelty for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Atlantic City.

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