According to reports out of Cobb County, a mother was arrested after allegedly leaving her two young daughters home alone while she went shopping at Walmart.
Witnesses discovered the children, ages 1 and 3, walking together near a busy road on Monday. Both the children appeared scared and hardly dressed. One of the witnesses said, “It looked like they were by themselves for quite a while. If we didn't stop them, God knows what would have happened. I don't even want to think about it.”
Police took the children home, but the mother didn't arrive back at the apartment for another hour.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the offense that the mother has been accused of committing and what she was ultimately arrested for - reckless conduct.
Reckless Conduct in Georgia
Reckless conduct in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-5-60 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.
Reckless conduct can include actions such as: leaving young children alone, shooting a gun into the air with people around without warning, leaving weapons unprotected near adolescents, etc.
Reckless conduct is classified as a misdemeanor. This means that if convicted of reckless conduct, a person is facing up to 12 months of jail time as well as $1,000 in fines.
The offender does not have to act with criminal intent to harm others to be charged with reckless conduct. The State must prove that the 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.
If you have been arrested for a crime in the state of Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today.