Increased Sentences for Making or Selling a Drug that Injures or Kills

Drug manufacture and distribution laws are in place to deter related crimes, reduce the amount of controlled substances circulating in society, and protect those who might be harmed by their use. If you're found to have violated these laws, you could be facing some harsh penalties. But did you know that if someone gets injured or dies because they used the drugs you made or sold, you could be looking at increased punishments?

Making or Selling Drugs that Result in Harm to Others

If a person uses drugs, they could be at risk of various types of health problems. They could overdose or even die. But where does responsibility lie when such an outcome occurs? In Texas, the person who sold or manufactured the drug that caused harm could be criminally charged and penalized for the injury or death of another.

Texas Health and Safety Code 481.141 states that if someone is seriously injured or dies because they used a drug you made or supplied them, you could be facing more severe penalties than if that person had not been hurt at all.

The law applies to the following offenses that can be charged as state jail, third-degree, or second-degree felonies:

  • Manufacture or delivery of a Penalty Group 1 substance
  • Manufacture or delivery of a Penalty Group 1-A substance
  • Manufacture or delivery of a Penalty Group 2 or 2-A Substance
  • Manufacture or Delivery of a Penalty Group 3 or 4 Substance
  • Delivery of a controlled substance or marijuana to a child

What If I Didn't Intend to Harm Anyone?

The law that imposes increased penalties for a drug crime that results in injury or death does not specify intent to harm. Thus, it does not matter if you make or sell a drug to someone and you didn't mean for them to get hurt. The fact that they did suffer an injury is all the law is concerned with. With or without intent, you can still be criminally charged.

But I Didn't Inject Them with the Drug? Can I Still Be Charged?

Texas Health and Safety Code 481.141 provides that the person who manufactured or delivered the drug that caused injury or death can be charged even though they didn't administer the substance to the other person themselves.

It simply states that you could be found guilty if a judge or jury determines beyond a reasonable doubt that the person suffered serious injury or death as a result of any of the following happening with a controlled substance you provided them:

  • Injecting it;
  • Ingesting it;
  • Inhaling it; or
  • Introducing it in some way into their body

Additionally, even if they mixed the drug with something else, such as a dilutant, you could still be criminally charged because they suffered injuries or death.

What Are the Penalties for an Offense?

If you're found guilty of delivering a drug that resulted in someone else suffering serious injury or death, you'll be penalized one degree higher than the underlying offense. For instance, making or distributing a Penalty Group 1 drug in an amount between 1 and 4 grams is a second-degree felony. The penalties for this offense include up to 20 years in prison. If the person you gave the drugs to is seriously injured or dies after they use it, you could then be charged with a first-degree felony, which carries with it a prison term of up to 99 years.

Have you been charged with a drug crime in San Antonio? Discuss your case and legal options with our attorneys at LaHood Norton Law Group by calling (210) 801-9400 or filling out an online contact form.