Drug addiction can be a particularly dangerous problem when the addict is a parent, but in a recent case in Pennsylvania, a woman is now facing criminal charges for using drugs while pregnant. It’s a sad case for everyone involved and here’s what you should know about the situation courtesy of Vista child abuse defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
The woman in this case has a long history of heroin addiction and continued to use even while she was pregnant. At some point during her seventh month, she overdosed on the drug and when her boyfriend discovered her, he took her to the hospital where doctors induced labor in order to save the child. The baby barely survived, having to be resuscitated and stay under constant life support. It was later determined to be brain dead and may be taken off of life support in the near future. The mother was charged with aggravated assault of an unborn child and may even be charged with homicide if the baby does not survive.
In California, the case would be handled a lot differently. In fact, while the story is heartbreaking, the mother would almost certainly not have been charged at all. Our state does allow for criminal charges for those who murder a fetus, but there is no corresponding manslaughter charge so a Fallbrook criminal attorney would make sure that without any evidence of violent intent or malice, she couldn’t be brought up on charges. Similarly, while mothers who pass on drugs to their babies through breast milk can be charged with child endangerment or even child abuse, these charges cannot be brought up in cases involving fetuses.
While there are many child advocates who feel the mother in this case should be punished, most Escondido child abuse defense lawyers point out that the mother has already suffered drastically through the loss of her child. Cases like this point out the need for improved addition recovery services so those who wish to quit don’t have to do it alone.
If you have been accused of any type of crime involving the use of drugs or involving the abuse of children, remember that anything you say can be used against you. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with top Rancho Bernardo defense attorney Peter M. Liss.
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