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Lee County Couple Charged With Child Neglect After Child Overdoses

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In late October 2023, a Lee County couple was charged with child neglect and possession of cocaine after first responders found their 14-month old child unresponsive after overdosing. As of this writing, the child is in stable condition, but the couple confessed to knowing that their child had ingested “several pills described as oxycodone” – which later tested positive for cocaine. Drug possession can be a very serious crime, but coupled with child neglect, the couple may be facing significant jail time.

Both Serious Offenses

Florida takes drug crimes very seriously, and the possible sentences are harsh. The state has had previous issues with cartel presence, and its law enforcement sees drug possession, sales and trafficking as crimes against society. In addition, crimes against children are seen as particularly serious, given that children cannot defend themselves or stand up for their own legal rights – their parents are expected to do it for them.

Drug possession is divided into offenses of simple possession, and possession with intent to sell. Simple possession is a lesser charge in most situations, while possession with intent to sell usually merits a more serious sentence upon conviction. However, possession of drugs can also affect the prosecution of other charges like child neglect – in other words, they may be factors in assessing a sentence.

One Crime May Prove Another

Under Florida law, there are three specific criteria that must be established in order to convict a person of possessing drugs: (1) the drugs in question are illegal (or are possessed in an illegal manner, such as possessing a prescription drug without a prescription); (2) the defendant must have had “dominion and control” over the illegal substance; and (3) the defendant must have either known or should have known of both the illegality of the substance and its location. In other words, if you knowingly had control over an illegal substance, you have committed the offense of drug possession.

The couple in Lee County was charged with both drug possession and child neglect, as Florida law defines the latter as any incident or omission that results (or could reasonably result in) “serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death,” to a child. Allowing a child to ingest several pills, whether oxycodone or cocaine, certainly falls into that category. While this couple faces significant prison time, a charge of drug possession will hopefully have less life-changing consequences.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Possession Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of drugs, it is important to be aware of just how high the stakes are in your situation – though hopefully you do not have to face other, concurrent charges like the couple from Lee County. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help you navigate the legal process. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.

Source:

cbs12.com/news/local/toddler-overdose-diego-tzoy-pu-child-neglect-and-drug-possession-how-did-a-14-month-old-child-in-florida-overdose-on-cocaine-pills-october-30-2023

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