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You Could Face Las Vegas Murder Charges If Someone Dies From a Drug You Provide

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

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If you provide someone in Las Vegas with an illegal drug, whether it be heroin, meth, or a prescription painkiller that's not theirs and they die as a result, you could wind up in prison for murder.

NRS § 453.333 provides that:

If the death of a person is proximately caused by a controlled substance which was sold, given, traded or otherwise made available to him or her by another person in violation of this chapter, the person who sold, gave or traded or otherwise made the substance available to him or her is guilty of murder.

In order to obtain a Nevada murder conviction under this code section, prosecutors must prove not only that the accused provided the controlled substance to the deceased, but that the controlled substance “proximately caused” the person's death.

A “proximate cause” of death is “a cause which, in natural and continuous sequence, produces” the death and “without which the would not have occurred.” NEV. J.I. 4.04. Under this standard, for example, the death of someone with a heart condition who overdosed on a drug could be “proximately caused” by the drug even though the heart condition contributed to their passing as well.

A person charged with a violation of Section 453.333 can be convicted of either first degree or second degree murder, both Nevada category A felonies.

If convicted of murder in the second degree, a defendant will be punished by imprisonment in the Nevada state prison:

  • For life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served; or
  • For a definite term of 25 years, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served.

If convicted of murder in the first degree, the defendant will be sentenced to Nevada state prison:

  • For life without the possibility of parole;
  • For life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 20 years has been served; or
  • For a definite term of 50 years, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 20 years has been served.

A death sentence is also possible upon a conviction for first-degree murder under this statute, but in much more limited circumstances.

If you are facing criminal charges in Las Vegas relating to drugs or a death caused by drugs, you need a criminal defense attorney right now. Please give one of our skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys a call today.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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