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Drug distributors may face criminal homicide charges in Wisconsin

The gripping power of drug addiction has the ability to transform lives. Not only do illicit drugs ruin the lives of those who become dependent on their effects, they can also destroy the lives of those who choose to sell the substances to others. It is no surprise that distributing illegal drugs is against the law; however, in Wisconsin, a drug distributer who sells an addict their lethal dose of drugs may find themselves facing drug-related homicide charges.

Waukesha County led the state in the number of heroin-related homicide charges issued to drug distributers between 2010 and 2013. During this time, approximately 26 charges were filed in the county. There were a total of 40 heroin deaths in Waukesha County within that 3-year span. In 2013, 21 people were convicted of heroin-related homicide statewide.

In Wisconsin, anyone who is involved in the chain of supply that results in a drug-related death can be prosecuted. Law enforcement typically works their way up the chain, using plea agreements to gain more information about other dealers in the drug ring.

People facing homicide charges for distributing lethal heroin doses in Wisconsin can face up to 25 years in prison; however, the average prison sentence in 2013 was six years. Since the late 1980s, Wisconsin has prosecuted those who engage in drug deliveries causing death.

People who distribute illegal drugs may not be aware of the long-term consequences of their actions. A criminal defense attorney may be able to provide essential legal counsel to those facing charges. Whether the offender wishes to accept a plea deal or is innocent of all charges, an attorney may be extremely helpful to the case.

Source: USA Today, "More states push homicide charges in heroin overdoses," Eric Litke, July 25, 2014. 

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