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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death: 35-42-1-1.5 Indiana's Legal Perspective

Dealing in controlled substances is a serious offense, and when it results in the death of a human being, the consequences are even graver. Indiana's legal framework provides for specific penalties when an individual knowingly or intentionally manufactures or delivers controlled substances that lead to a person's death. In this article, we will delve into the details of Indiana Code (IC) 35-42-1-1.5, which addresses "Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death."

Understanding IC 35-42-1-1.5

IC 35-42-1-1.5 is a critical section of Indiana's legal code that outlines the legal repercussions of dealing in controlled substances that result in a fatality. Let's break down the key components of this code:

  1. Offenses Covered: The statute covers individuals who knowingly or intentionally manufacture or deliver controlled substances, including substances like cocaine, methamphetamine, and certain schedule I, II, or III controlled substances.

  2. Resulting in Death: The critical element is that when the controlled substance is used, injected, inhaled, absorbed, or ingested, and it leads to the death of the person who used the substance, it falls under this statute.

  3. Felony Levels: The severity of the offense depends on the specific circumstances:

    • (a) Dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death is a Level 1 felony.

    • (b) Dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death is a Level 2 felony if the violation pertains to a controlled substance in accordance with IC 35-48-4-3.

    • (c) Dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death is a Level 3 felony if the offense involves synthetic drugs, synthetic drug lookalikes, controlled substance analogs, or substances misrepresented as controlled substances.

  1. No Defense: It is important to note that it is not a defense to the offense that the person who died voluntarily used the controlled substance or that the death resulted from the use of the controlled substance in combination with alcohol or other compounds. In other words, the responsibility of the supplier remains, even if the person chose to use the substance.


Dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death is taken very seriously in Indiana. The law is designed to hold those responsible who knowingly or intentionally provide substances that lead to fatal consequences. The severity of penalties corresponds to the nature of the offense, with Level 1 being the most severe and Level 3 being the least severe, in this context.

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