Aggressive Criminal

What’s the fentanyl murder law in Texas?

On Behalf of | Criminal Defense |

The United States has been fighting a “war on drugs” for decades – with very little success. That hasn’t stopped the government, however, from continuing to pass new legislation that’s designed to keep the battle going.

While past efforts have focused on marijuana, synthetic opioids like “spice” and cocaine, the drug that’s currently captured a lot of official attention is fentanyl. Fentanyl is a high-powered opioid that’s far more powerful than morphine, and it’s often added to other illegal drugs and counterfeit pills to give them an extra “kick.” 

Unfortunately, fentanyl overdoses are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 5,000 people died in Texas from fentanyl overdoses between July 2021 and July 2022 alone. According to the new law that was signed into being by Governor Greg Abbott, all those overdoses are now likely to be classified as murders.

House Bill 6 changed the rules 

HB 6 is an extraordinary piece of legislation that amends Section 19.02 of the Texas Penal Code. It redefines murder to include incidents where someone “knowingly manufactures or delivers a controlled substance” (specifically, various forms of fentanyl as described in Section 481.1123 of the Health and Safety Code) to another and that person dies as a result of using the drug.

In essence, the law now classifies fentanyl overdoses as “poisonings,” and they may be listed as such on a victim’s death certificate. While advocates for the bill believe that this – along with the enhanced penalties that the new law attaches for producing or distributing fentanyl – can make a difference, opponents have their doubts. They say that the number of fentanyl overdoses is so high that it would be impossible for the authorities to keep pace with prosecutions, so the law is likely to be selectively and unfairly enforced. 

If you’ve been charged with murder in connection with an overdose death of a friend, neighbor, relative or acquaintance, the stakes are very high. Invoke your right to remain silent until you can safely explore your potential defenses.