Two women in Cobb County were in the right place at the right time according to news reports. According to police, two women who are also locksmiths were in a local parking lot of a shopping mall when they saw that a child was crying and sweating alone in a locked car.
The child's mother allegedly left the boy in the car while she went inside a store and did some shopping. Most people are unaware that this is a criminal offense in Georgia. The mother was found and arrested for reckless conduct. It falls under the same category as when someone leaves a loaded gun in a careless manner where a child can get a hold of it or when a person does illegal drugs in a public area.
These types of crimes are classified as reckless conduct. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the law behind reckless conduct as well as the penalty if convicted in today's post.
Reckless Conduct in Georgia
Reckless Conduct in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-5-40 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.
According to the law, the prosecution must demonstrate that the suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that an act taken was not one that a reasonable person would have done. The Court will analyze several factors to try and determine whether or not the defendant should have known that their conduct was dangerous. Some factors include but are not limited to the accused's age, education, mental capacities, the nature of the crime, and state of mind at the time of the offense.
Most of the time, a reckless conduct conviction is classified as a misdemeanor. However, there are some circumstances where a reckless conduct charge is considered a felony. If a person who is infected with HIV and who knows they are infected with HIV commits a certain action as proscribed by law then they will be guilty of a felony and shall face a penalty of no more than ten years in prison.
In addition to serving time in prison and possibly paying a fine, a defendant could also be subject to a personal injury lawsuit from the victim. The victim could sue the defendant for damages that resulted from the crime and could include lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and rehabilitation.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I know that not everyone who is accused of committing a criminal offense is guilty of committing a crime or even that particular offense. Unfortunately wrongful arrests and wrongful convictions happen more often than we would like to admit.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our offices today. We can help you now.