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Fate of Laree’s Law still uncertain

When a person dies of a drug overdose in New York, the dealers or traffickers who supplied the drugs involved may face drug charges, but are generally not held legally responsible for the person’s death. This could change if Laree’s Law, which has already passed the Senate, passes the New York Assembly.  Laree’s Law would apply to drug dealers and traffickers who distribute opiates which result in a drug user’s death. The proposed law – named for Laree Farrell Lincoln, a teen who died in 2013 of a drug overdose – comes in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States.

Under Laree’s Law, a drug user who intended to use the drug with the deceased will not be charged with a homicide. Instead, the law aims to target the higher-level drug dealers, and hold them accountable for deaths resulting from the drugs they are selling. In other words, what would have previously resulted in a charge for “criminal sale of a controlled substance” could become a homicide charge. Other states have passed similar legislation, but it remains unclear if New York will do the same.

For people who have been drawn into opioid use, either from a prescription or from other means, it is worth noting these recent legislative attempts to quell the epidemic. Whether such legislative attempts will be an effective deterrent against drug distribution remains to be seen, but this trend should be of concern for those who may face drug charges in the future. For some, a drug sale may no longer be just a drug sale — it may be a homicide.

Important Information

COVID-19 (Novel Corona Virus)  Update 3-20-2020

By order of Governor Andrew Cuomo, beginning 3-22-2020, all non-essential business in New York state must close their physical offices in response to the rapid rate of positive reported cases of COVID-19 in New York State.

Although this will impact the in office and in person services that LIT can provide, we will still be working remotely from our homes to serve our existing clients and we will continue to serve the public on a remote basis with any new legal matters for which they may need assistance.

We as a nation have overcome great obstacles in the past and although the challenges that lie ahead of us as community, as a state, and as a nation are great, we will overcome them as our resilience as individuals, as a community and as a nation will allow us to prevail.

May all of you and your loved ones be safe and well .

Larkin, Ingrassia & Tepermayster, LLP

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 845-566-5345

For more information regarding the COVID-19 virus please visit any of the following sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NYS Department of Health

Orange County Dept. of Health

Ulster County Dept. of Health

For information and updates regarding court postponements or closings please visit:

NYS Unified Court System

9th Judicial District

3rd Judicial District