Reckless conduct charges for leaving your child unattended in the car are common in Georgia, especially since the 2014 death of Cooper Harris, who died after being left in his father's car in Cobb County, Georgia. Of course, in the case of Cooper Harris, his father is charged with murder, as the state argues his actions were intentional and he had motive to kill his child.
Reckless conduct in Georgia is any conduct that puts others at risk of personal danger or property damage. Reckless conduct is subjective, meaning cops can charge it whenever the circumstances, to that officer, seem to fit the definition. Of course, in cases involving leaving children in cars, circumstances include:
- the child (or childrens') age
- the weather
- how long the children were left unattended
- whether the car was left running
- whether the doors were locked
In many reckless conduct cases we have defended, our clients either (a) forgot their children were in the car at all, or (b) felt their accommodations were reasonable and safe for their children. For example, our firm defended a case where there is surveillance footage of our client inside a local business, while others run out the front door, hearing the commotion made by his child in the car. Our client never flinched. It never occurred to him that it was his child in the vehicle. He had simply forgotten, as there was a last minute change in plans and his child ended up riding with him.
In another case, our client had left her daughter in the vehicle, with the vehicle locked, and the air running, while the child watched DVDs in the backseat. Our client in that case ran into the store for a quick exchange, thinking her actions were safe and reasonable. In both instances, our clients were originally charged with reckless conduct, though neither client was ultimately convicted.
If you have been charged with reckless conduct for leaving a child in the car, call our office today to discuss your case. We will be happy to discuss our approach, as well as what to expect in the particular courtroom your case is pending in, and things you can do to be proactive in your defense. We can be reached at (770) 676-1340 or through our contact form.