Skip to main content
A Better Partnership
June 20, 2012

COA Opinion: Delivery of heroin only constitutes aggravated use of a weapon if the drug is used to attack the victim

The Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's sentencing in People v. Ball, holding that the trial court improperly sentenced the defendant for use of a weapon in a heroin transaction. In this case, the defendant delivered half of a gram of heroin to the victim who thereafter overdosed on the drug. The prosecutor requested, and the trial court agreed, that the defendant be scored 20 points for aggravated use of a weapon under the sentencing guidelines because he subjected the victim to a harmful chemical substance. The Court of Appeals disagreed. It held that while there is no question that heroin is a harmful chemical substance, it was not used to attack the victim, so it could not be considered a weapon in this instance. The Court did not rule out the possibility that heroin could be used as a weapon; for example, one could forcibly inject heroin into a victim for the purpose of killing them by means of a heroin overdose. However, in this case, the Court explained that the defendant took part in an 'ordinary, albeit illegal, consensual drug transaction,' rather than attacking the victim with the heroin. Accordingly, the Court held that the defendant was inappropriately sentenced for use of a weapon and remanded the case for further proceedings.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.

ACCEPTCANCEL

Text

+ -

Reset