After a naked toddler found wading in a retention pond was brought to safety, police arrested the father on child neglect and drug charges. Police showed pictures of the boy and neighbors directed them to a home with the front door wide open, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police found the father asleep on the couch and found marijuana and a pipe in the kitchen, the newspaper reported. The man told police he thought the boy was in his crib, which he likely was before getting out, opening the front door and walking out of the house.
The man is charged with Jacksonville child neglect, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. In Jacksonville Child Abuse / Neglect cases, child neglect is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Both drug charges are first-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in county jail. While the drug charges are separate charges, the mere presence of the drugs likely also played a significant role in the state choosing to file the Jacksonville Child Neglect Case as well. It is conceivable that the father did fall asleep and did not hear the child climb out of his crib and then open the front door and walk outside. Without the drugs, that sounds like an honest mistake. But add drugs to the equation and people immediately think the father did not wake up because he was under the influence of drugs and the case sounds far more sinister.
In many Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, a defendant may be offered pretrial intervention where he or she can take some substance abuse awareness courses, pass a series of drug tests, along with meeting a variety of other conditions and have the charges dropped. Whether the state would do that in a case that also includes Jacksonville Child Abuse Charges is unknown, but the additional charge could be the deal-breaker. Obviously, the more important charge for the defendant to address is the child neglect charge, because it is a felony. A felony conviction can restrict a person’s right to vote and have a firearm, not to mention significantly narrow the number of professions or employers for whom a person could land a job.
This could be a Jacksonville Child Abuse Case where prosecutors would drop the felony charges if the person agrees to plead guilty to the two misdemeanors, It’s highly unlikely the defendant will escape punishment in this Jacksonville Child Abuse case and, in some cases, it’s in the client’s best interest to plead to a misdemeanor and avoid the chance of a felony conviction. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney can look at all of the charges you or your loved one are facing, have an idea of how other similar charges worked out in Jacksonville and the surrounding area, and help you make the best decision about how to proceed with your case.
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 Child Abuse Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.