A grandmother was arrested on a charge of reckless conduct after she allegedly left her two grandchildren in her car in a Costco parking lot for over an hour yesterday afternoon. Temperatures rose to 90 degrees on Wednesday.
According to reports, parking lot security was notified by a concerned citizen about the children's welfare.
I wrote recently on the crime of Reckless Conduct in Georgia - however, this is an interesting example of the crime. I mentioned in my last post on reckless conduct that it is an intriguing criminal offense because it encompasses acts that are considered dangerous.
The offense requires the actor to merely act recklessly and dangerously - no criminal intent is actually necessary.
Reckless Conduct in Georgia
Georgia Law defines the criminal offense of reckless conduct as:
“A person who causes bodily harm to or endangers the bodily safety of another person by consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his act or omission will cause harm or endanger the safety of the other person and the disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation is guilty of a misdemeanor.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-40.
A conviction for reckless conduct in Georgia is classified as a misdemeanor. This means that the penalty can include up to 12 months in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I'd like to analyze the situation in the news story mentioned above.
According to reports, the woman parked the car in direct sunlight and left the children unattended in a hot car for an hour. Although she did not cause bodily harm to either grandchild, she allegedly endangered their bodily safety by disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that her act could cause harm to the children by allegedly leaving them alone in a hot car in a public parking lot.
The reckless element constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.
Reckless conduct is a crime of general intent, not specific intent. As a crime of general intent, the prosecutor does not need to prove that the grandmother intended to leave the children in the vehicle or that she intended to harm them.
The state of Georgia would only need to prove that her actions did not meet the standard of conduct required by an adult in supervision of children.
But as I've mentioned plenty of times in my posts, no one is to be deemed guilty just because they have been accused of committing a crime. According to the grandmother, she was in the store for about twenty minutes. Her best defense would start with a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney who can investigate and analyze her case to determine the most applicable Georgia Criminal Defenses.