Whenever a child is involved or present at the time that a criminal act is committed, it becomes more serious. Child endangerment charges are especially applicable in cases where there has been a drug crime committed. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said sometimes, the case is as mundane as an aunt or uncle who brings marijuana into the home where children are located. The children need never see the drugs for the aunt or uncle to be charged with child abuse or child endangerment. If there is even a possibility, no matter how remote, that the child may be able to obtain the drug and ingest it, the person who brought it in to the home will be charged.
Most people think that in order to be charged with child endangerment or abuse, that they have to use the drug in front of the child. Some even think that they have to provide the drug to the child. Neither one of these situations is accurate. The mere presence of the drug in the home constitutes a drug crime. That drug crime can constitute child neglect or abuse depending on the circumstance.
A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said on one such case, a woman was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child as well as possession of cocaine. The incident that led to the woman’s arrest occurred when a police officer was in her apartment legally in reference to a different situation. While he was in the apartment, he observed a glassine bag on top of the defendant’s refrigerator that in his experience as a law enforcement officer appeared to be cocaine. The woman later admitted that it was cocaine and that she was a person who would use cocaine every now and then.
The officer also observed a small female child in the apartment living room. The girl was about two to three feet tall and about 40 pounds. The woman stated that the child was her granddaughter. The defendant maintains that the child could not have obtained the cocaine because it was on top of the refrigerator and was therefore out of her reach. The state maintains that simply putting a hazardous substance out of a child’s reach will not necessarily protect them from obtaining it.
The state set forth several scenarios in which the baggie could fall or be blown off of the top of the refrigerator. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said that would put it in the reach of the child who could ingest the material. Such a young child could easily die from ingesting cocaine. The state also maintains that the child can walk and climb. A child of that age would certainly be able to climb up onto a kitchen counter to reach the top of the refrigerator. Children of this age are known to be climbers and getting up on the kitchen counter is not unusual for any child that age. They are accustomed to having to climb up onto the counters in order to reach a cup, cereal, or other daily items. A child could reasonably decide to investigate the substance in the bag on top of the refrigerator. There was great emphasis placed on the fact that the drugs were not locked up or secured away from the child in any way. The woman was tried by a jury and convicted.
The defendant disagreed with her conviction and applied for an appeal. The justices who heard the appeal determined that the state had made an excellent case for the fact that the child could have obtained the drugs. Merely placing them on top of the refrigerator did not secure them from the curiosity of a child. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said the most appropriate thing that the grandmother could have done would have been not to bring the drugs into the apartment in the first place. However, since she did take the drugs into the apartment, she should have taken steps to ensure the safety of the child by placing them somewhere that they could be locked up away from the child. It is important that anyone who has been arrested for drug offenses contact a Queens Drug Lawyer. A Queens Criminal Lawyer can represent your interests and help you regain your freedom.