A Twiggs County, Georgia, couple has been charged with reckless conduct after giving their 15-year-old son marijuana to help treat his seizures. Suzeanna and Matthew Brills say their son has been battling seizures his entire life and his medications would not work. After doing extensive research, they turned to marijuana.
Their son, David, would smoke before and after school and before bedtime to control the seizures. Now he is living in a group home after being taken into custody by the state. His parents’ charges are misdemeanor charges. The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services says their top priority is restoring the family as quickly as possible.
What is Reckless Conduct?
Charges in Georgia for reckless conduct are fingerprintable misdemeanors. This means that if you plead guilty to the charges, they will stay on your record forever. The Georgia code describes reckless conduct as conduct that endangers the bodily safety or causes bodily harm to a person by consciously disregarding an unjustifiable or substantial risk. It can also mean that an omission caused harm or risked the safety of another person because the care deviated from the standard that a reasonable person would have shown in the same situation.
The acts are often related to the care of children but can include any act that endangers another person. They include things like firing a gun, leaving a young child home alone, or driving after consuming too much alcohol. In the above Georgia case, it was for giving their son marijuana without the required medical documentation.
What Must the State Prove to Convict a Person of Reckless Conduct?
To convict a person of reckless conduct, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect is guilty. This means that they must prove that the act was not one that a typical person would have done. They may take into consideration factors including but not limited to the mental capacity, age, education, and state of mind of the defendant, as well as the nature of the crime to determine if the defendant should have known that the actions were dangerous.
Punishment for Reckless Conduct
Georgia, in most cases, recognizes reckless conduct as a misdemeanor offense. Therefore, it is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and jail time up to 12 months. Judges rarely hand out these maximum penalties, and the cases often settle out of court. However, in certain situations, the charge of reckless conduct can be a felony.
If a person knows that he or she has HIV and commits an assault in an effort to infect another person, he or she will face felony charges and between five and 10 years in prison. Additionally, the maximum penalty for the same crime against a peace or corrections officer increases to 20 years in prison.
How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney can Help
Depending on the case, you can often resolve a charge of reckless conduct without a trial. Furthermore, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charges lowered to a lesser charge, or they may even be able to have the charges dropped. Having an attorney who knows criminal defense is critical when you could be facing jail time and monetary penalties. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law have the experience you need to help protect and defend your rights.