Atlanta, Ga. - According to reports out of Atlanta, a toddler is fighting for his life after shooting himself in the head after finding a loaded gun in his home.
The boyfriend of the toddler's mother has been arrested on charges of reckless conduct, cruelty to children, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. It is not clear to investigators right now just how the child found the weapon.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the law behind the offense of cruelty to children.
Cruelty to Children in Georgia
O.C.G.A. § 16-5-70 is the statute that outlines the three different degrees of cruelty to children in Georgia.
First-degree cruelty to children occurs when a parent, guardian, or other person supervising a child under the age of 18 willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child's well-being is jeopardized. In addition, cruelty to children in the first degree includes when a person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
Second-degree cruelty to children occurs when a person with criminal negligence causes a child less than 18 years old cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
Third-degree cruelty to children occurs when either a person, who is the primary aggressor, intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or a person, who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery.
Cruelty to children is considered a felony in Georgia. The penalty can include up to twenty years in prison. The only exception is with third-degree child cruelty - a judge has the discretion with this degree to charge it as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Cruelty to children in any degree is a serious charge and can have detrimental effects on a person's life if he or she is convicted.
Call our offices today if you have been arrested in the state of Georgia.