A woman was recently arrested in St. Johns County, Florida on several charges resulting from her being found sleeping with a baby on her. According to an article on News4Jax.com, Police say the woman was parked at a gas station and was seen sleeping with a child in her lap. Police checked the plates on the car and found out the car was stolen from another state. Upon searching the car, police allegedly found heroin and drug paraphernalia along with used baby items. The woman was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, child neglect, grand theft auto and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The basis for the child neglect charge is most likely the several used diapers found in the car along with bad milk. In order to prove a child neglect charge in Florida, the State Attorney’s Office has to prove that the woman willfully failed to provide the child with the care, supervision and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical or mental health. Neglect of a child in St. Johns County can be repeated actions or a single incident. Certainly, being passed out with drugs in a car can be seen as purposely failing to provide the baby with supervision. Neglect of a child is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Heroin is considered a controlled substance in Florida and possession of it is also a third degree felony. Syringes were found along with the heroin. This is the basis of the possession of paraphernalia charge in St. Johns County. Drug paraphernalia, in Florida, is defined as any equipment, products or materials of any kind intended for putting illegal drugs in the body.
The woman almost certainly has a drug problem and it is unclear whether the woman stole the car she was in. Authorities are going to trace the vehicle theft back to the source to see if the grand theft auto charge will stick. This charge is also a third degree felony.
Another issue in cases involving children is the Department of Children and Families. Because there is a charge of child neglect and allegations of other felonies committed while a child is present, DCF will conduct their own investigation into the woman and make a determination on whether or not she can be around her child or children if she has others. The Department is an administrative agency, but they have the authority to decide if a person accused of a crime can have access to their children.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.