A pending trial against unknown drug dealers may lead to additional charges for dealers connected to overdose deaths, New Jersey criminal attorneys report. Ruth and Philip Roth, from Teaneck, New Jersey, are filing a lawsuit aimed at the unidentified drug dealers who they claim are responsible for their son’s death. Jonathan Roth, 21, purchased drugs from the dealers in December, and took a “lethal dosage” after he bought them. He died of an overdose shortly afterwards.
New Jersey law states that drug dealers can face charges if one of their buyers dies of an overdose after purchasing their drugs, but only if police can identify where the drugs originated. Currently, New Jersey criminal attorneys report that no charges have been filed against dealers in connection with Roth’s death. Roth’s parents have named “John Does” in their lawsuit, which they filed with the state superior court. If the Roths are able to trace their son’s drugs back to specific dealers, then the lawsuit can proceed in court and the dealers involved will need legal counsel to defend themselves.
New Jersey criminal attorneys say that the Roths’ lawsuit is allowable under the state’s 2011 Drug Dealer Liability Act. Under the Act, illegal drug users and their families can sue the people who dealt the drugs if they suffer harm or ill effects as a result of taking them. This Act can impose additional criminal sanctions on drug dealers, in addition to charges and penalties for dealing convictions. Any dealers convicted of selling drugs that cause an overdose death can face up to 20 years in prison. Dealers can defend against these charges by disproving connections between the dealer and the person who overdosed.
Skilled New Jersey criminal attorneys can defend drug dealers from lawsuits like the Roths’. Although the Roths do not have to prove that the drugs their son took were defective, they do have to make the connection between those drugs and the various dealers who sell the same types of drugs. The NJ criminal lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA have the resources to thoroughly investigate these claims, and can offer legal aid to dealers facing criminal charges.