Governor Corbett signed legislation aimed at giving law enforcement a stronger tool to prosecute drug dealers by changing the Pennsylvania Criminal Code to classify “drug delivery resulting in death” as a first-degree felony.

Prior to the new law, the specific crime of “drug delivery resulting in death” was classified as thirddegree murder, according to a statement provided by State Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-Bucks, the sponsor of the legislation. In those cases, a defendant’s guilt could only be proven by establishing “malice” on the part of the drug dealer.

Under O’Neill’s legislation, a defendant’s guilt is established by proving that the defendant acted “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” by selling the drug which led to the victim’s death.