First-Degree Murder by Drug Distribution

Section 782.04(3) Florida Statute explains the elements of the first-degree felony version of murder known as "First Degree Murder by Drug Distribution." Murder by drug distribution occurs when a person 18 years of age or older unlawful distributes any of the following qualified substances, or mixture containing any of the following substances when such substance or mixture is proven to be the proximate cause of the death of the user.

The courts in Florida have held that under Florida Statute Section 782.04(1)(a)3., a defendant does not need to intend an act of homicide, have knowledge of a drug overdose, or be present when it occurs. In order to be guilty of this offense, the defendant need only intend to unlawfully distribute one of the prohibited drugs that results in a death caused by the drug.

The qualified substances for purposes of the murder by drug distribution statute include:

  1. A substance controlled under s. 893.03(1) (Schedule I);
  2. Cocaine, as described in s. 893.03(2)(a)4.;
  3. Opium or any synthetic or natural salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium;
  4. Methadone;
  5. Alfentanil, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)1.;
  6. Carfentanil, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)6.;
  7. Fentanyl, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)9.;
  8. Sufentanil, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)29.; or
  9. A controlled substance analog, as described in s. 893.0356, of any substance specified in sub-subparagraphs a.-h.

Attorney for Drug Distribution Murder in Palm Beach County, FL

For charges of first-degree murder by drug distribution, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach, FL, at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We represent clients charged with a variety of homicide charges including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter.

Contact us to find out more about the charges pending against you, the typical way those charges are resolved in court, and the best defenses that can be used to aggressively fight the allegations.

Call (561) 557-8686 today.


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Defenses for Murder by Drug Distribution under 782.04(1)(a)(3)

The defense for this crime often revolves around whether the defendant is eighteen (18) years of age or older. Other defenses are based on causation when the State fails to prove that the victim died as a direct result of the defendant giving the person any drug. Other defenses require the criminal defense attorney to request a jury instruct on the defense of justifiable and excusable homicide.

If you were charged with Florida Statute Section 782.04(1)(a)(3), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. in West Palm Beach, FL. Our attorneys are experienced in asserting defenses related to excusable and justifiable homicide when the evidence supports those defenses.

We fight charges of distribution of a controlled substance under section 983.03(1), Florida Statutes, and first-degree murder under section 782.04, Florida Statutes.


This article was last updated on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

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