A Drug Delivery Resulting in Death (DDRD) charge is one of the harshest charges in PA. Only Murder in the First and Second Degree carry with it harsher penalties. Sadly, these cases usually involve co-users of drugs where just by the grace of God or bad luck or good luck one user dies and the other survives. The law is very very harsh and unforgiving. These cases require an extremely delicate touch because of the death involved. But at the same time, you need to push the case so you do not end up being punished worse than a drug kingpin merely because you lived.
We have handled dozens upon dozens of these cases from all sorts of circumstances. You can save yourself decades… if you pick the right attorney. We know the law, the pharmacology of the drugs involved, the judge and DAs. We fight these charges so the consequences of a conviction don’t follow you forever.
When people ask: “Who is the best Drug Delivery Resulting in Death attorney near me?” The answer always comes up the same: The McShane Firm. We are simply the best drug defense lawyers around.
Justin McShane is top flight. I don’t put statements like that in writing for just anyone. Anyone in need of a lawyer, especially concerning a criminal case, would be hard pressed to find better. Thanks, Greg
When I got this email from Justin asking me to write a review on him on this site, I dropped everything I was doing to do it.
Unfortunately, my daughter has a drug problem. We have been struggling with it for years in the family. She was caught by the police and sold to an undercover. Justin made it get through ARD so she would have no felony on her record and is now a college student and has a bright future. We cannot believe how great he is.
Mr. Barrouk and the rest of your firm were able to get a Nol Pros order for all of the charges. Happy doesn’t begin to describe it. Everyone was very kind and [I] feel like I played a part not just as a defendant. Thank You.
I have known Justin J. McShane for many years. He is forward-thinking and detail-oriented. Bottom line, he knows the law and how to win. If you are looking for a true professional that is always on the leading edge of legal issues and defense techniques, Justin McShane is the one you want on your team. He is constantly pushing his firm to the next level and they won’t let you down.
Justin McShane, Esq and all of his associates are the most technically knowledgeable and skilled attorney in Pennsylvania, or, in the country for that matter. Hard working in all of their cases, their success rate is astonishing. As an attorney myself, I know when I see knowledge, hard work, and integrity in other lawyers. Look no further if you are seeking legal counsel. The McShane firm is it.
You can read the exact statute here: 18 P.S.§ 2506. Drug delivery resulting in death.
If you plead guilty to this or are found guilty, it is a Felony of the First Degree but with a kick. All felonies of the the first degree have a maximum penalty of jail not more than 20 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.00 BUT this charge carries with it an enhanced maximum penalty of 40 years. That’s the same amount of maximum punishment for murder in the third degree! Yikes.
But with a felony conviction there is just so much more to worry about. In truth, jail is temporary. The conviction and its consequences are permanent. You must consider Felony Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania.
Again, this is if the worst thing happens. We make sure the worst doesn’t happen. Let’s see how we can fight and beat the government, ok?
What the government must prove:
Beyond a reasonable doubt
First it’s about a mindset. Even experienced criminal defense attorneys adopt the wrong mindset. When you are charged with any crime, it is just a naked allegation. While it is true that the government does not have to prove the complete and total impossibility of guilt, a reasonable doubt is a doubt based upon reason and common sense—the kind of doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act.
It’s not a measure of what is likely, most likely or even really really likely. It is more. Much more.
We cannot place an exact number or percentage on how firm or certain we must be. But to put it in perspective, it takes more evidence and proof to convict someone of a crime than the amount of proof it takes to remove a child from a home and terminate all parental rights. That’s a lot.
We make this burden on the government because it is so incredibly easy to accuse someone and without using a jury system and being very objective and detached, we have mob rule. Mobs are subject to passion and being rash. We would rather get it very right than risk getting in very wrong.
The elements (requirements) for Drug Delivery Resulting in Death:
The government must prove each of these numbered events beyond a reasonable doubt. If not, then you remain as you started before this whole thing started: innocent. The government must prove:
- the accused
- intentionally administers, dispenses, delivers, gives, prescribes, sells or distributes
- any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance in violation of section 13(a)(14) or (30) of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, and
- another person dies as a result of using the substance.
Malice is not required
Due to recent changes in the law, the element of malice was eliminated from this crime. Without the malice requirement it is much easier for the government to prove this charge. A very recent (2020) holding by our Superior Court settled the issue when that group of judges wrote:
The government must prove two separate and distinct states of mind for there to be a conviction for DDRD.
First, the delivery, distribution or sale of the contraband must be intentional. Second, the actual death must be the reckless result of the actions of the defendant. As such, the crime is an intentional act in providing contraband, with a reckless disregard of death from the use of the contraband.
What is Recklessness in PA?
We find the definition of recklessly at 18 P.S. 302.
A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and intent of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.
But what does that mean? Well the best way to explain it is by what it is not. Reckless behavior is less than intentional, less than knowing, but more than mere negligence.
To put it simply:
- Intentional means that you are aware of what you are doing and do it on purpose for its intended aim.
- A person acts knowingly when he acts with the certainty that a certain result will follow from his actions.
- However, a person acts recklessly if the person does not know for sure that a specific result will follow. Recklessness means that you knowingly take a risk.
- Negligence occurs when a person unknowingly takes a risk that they should have been aware of..
So in the real world, it means whatever a jury wants it to mean. This is where having the right attorney who can explain how your conduct doesn’t fit the crime can make all of the difference.
Police officers, state troopers and DAs will dangle this very heavy charge over your head to for your cooperation. They will charge you with this offense, subpoena you before a Grand Jury (with or without charges) and squeeze you to testify as to where you got the drugs. If you do decide to cooperate, you absolutely have to have an attorney who will get you IN WRITING a proffer letter, a grant of immunity or a plea deal. Without it, you might end up with the Good Citizen award on your way upstate for decades.