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Child Neglect w/o Great Bodily Harm x2 Child Abuse, Molestation, Porn

Discussion in 'Criminal Charges' started by William Burgess, Apr 23, 2022.

  1. William Burgess

    William Burgess Law Topic Starter Member

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    Thought this might be able to fit in here for it being a charged crime against children. I live in Florida.

    In November I had a Grand Mal seizure and went to ER. Was told it was life threatening. Went to regular doctor later on and was prescribed an anti-convulsant. The medicine made me very drowsy but I was able to watch my 2 children and 2 that my girlfriend took custody of. Because the medicine made me drowsy I went back to doctor and wanted to try another medicine. He informed me that my pills could be split in half and if I did that I might not have another seizure. I didn't feel like I should risk that and he noted caution too. Instead he said that the side effects would likely wear off soon. So I continued taking it and dealing with it. Never had a problem supervising the children though.

    Late December, right before Christmas, girlfriend had to work that day. I came home from work, took my medicine, and went to sleep before she left. All the kids were asleep. She texted me and woke me up saying she was going on lunch soon and a lady was coming over to drop off some gifts. The lady knocked, I was getting dressed, but I was so disoriented. I felt so weird. I had felt bad that day anyways and didn't know what it was. She left and soon after girlfriend came home. She noted I was very disoriented too. I was up and dressed. She left and I sat down on the bed. That was the last thing I remember at that moment.

    Next thing, a police officer is waking me up saying they are looking for missing children. I was so disoriented and terrified I was having a hard time talking to her. My oldest kid, 5, had got past the child lock because later we found out it was broke. In doing so she let herself and my youngest, 2, out. The younger of the other 2 children was in a pack-n-play, and girlfriend had taken the other kid to her grandma's house. They were found by neighbors, police called. Girlfriend got off work and we talked with law enforcement. I was arrested and charged with 3rd degree felony Child Neglect w/o Great Bodily Harm x2. I had never been arrested or been in any legal trouble at all before this, period

    Bonded out of jail next day, DCF agent came by and drug tested me which came back negative of all substances. Even he said this was ridiculous from something like this and just to hang in there. Spoke with public defender for first time and submitted UA from DCF, note from doctor about medicine and side effect being common with that drug, and medical records of Grand Mal seizure in November.

    Went to court first time and ended up getting a continuance. Didn't hear from public defender, and couldn't get up with him until the day of court. Was told I received a plea deal for changing from not guilty, to no contest, 3 years probation (could do 1.5 years if everything goes smoothly.) and will end up paying almost $4,000 for everything (court costs, fees, probation, etc.) With it being presented literally moments before called I decided to sign and take it. I thought 3 years probation was better than possible prison time. I wonder now if I should t have jumped the gun. I wonder if I should have asked for another continuance because of the new documentation pending. I can appeal it so I'm told but I was waiting on DCF investigation report, which came the morning of. It was fine, no complaints, no issues from neighbors, manager of complex, etc. I went ahead and submitted that to public defender via email. Lady that does therapy with youngest one here, by the way he is 1, typed out a letter of basically how we were as a family and what she had observed with all of us, and again nothing bad. I had an EEG day before court and MRI w/contrast before that and should be getting results back when meeting with neurologist (if allowed to travel to that county now that I'm on probation.)

    I'm wondering if the new documents would help my case any and I'm wondering if I should appeal and fight it. I feel like this was more a case of involuntary intoxication, than negligence/culpable negligence. I have bad anxiety and have a hard time being in front of people. Anxiety causes me stress, and go figure, my seizures are triggered by seizures so it's a vicious cycle. I would love to get people's opinions on this. I hope I haven't messed anything up because truthfully I feel like I'm innocent in this case. An unfortunate accident happened but it was completely out of my control. It was take medicine or possibly have seizure. I had never passed out like that before so I had no reason to suspect it then. Any input would be appreciated. One thought that came to mind is if I tried to fight the charges I wonder if I could use involuntary intoxication as a defense. One definition of such is taking a drug prescribed by a physician, which this was, and taking one not knowing the effects. I had been tired before while taking it, but I had never passed out and not remember anything about laying down, etc. It was even pondered if I had maybe had another Grand Mal seizure beings I lose consciousness during those and don't remember them. It would also account for why I was so confused in the first place.

    My question with all those details out of the way is: Do you think it would be better to take the deal and just stick out the probation, or better to fight it? What do you all think would be reasonable to do in this matter, or what my options reasonably could be? Thanks.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    That is a decision you alone must make in consultation with your attorney.

    Again, you must make that decision in consultation with your attorney.

    Finally, you knew that you were suffering from a difficult medical issue and were required to take a life saving drug that had very serious, life altering consequences to you.

    Common sense would dictate that because of your medical condition you might no longer watch and attend to SMALL children alone.

    I don't know what punishment the court or jury will mete out should you be convicted, however the ones sitting in judgment might ask why did he care for children alone knowing what has been occurring in his life.
     
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  3. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    You should only be asking your attorney. You should NOT be posting on the internet.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    No contest = Guilty.

    The plea bargain means you have been convicted of a crime.

    You did the prosecutor's job for them.

    You already took the deal. Isn't that what you said?

    What makes you think you can back out of it now?

    Told by who?

    The best option is any option that doesn't result in having a criminal record.

    You need a lawyer that works for you and doesn't work for the prosecutor.
     
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  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The prosecutor LOVES defendants who take a deal.
     
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  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Yup. Especially when the defendant, per what he posted here, is clearly guilty.
     
  7. William Burgess

    William Burgess Law Topic Starter Member

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    I'm not going to bother quoting everyone. I feel like I can answer it all without doing that. The reason I wanted people's opinion was so that I could consider other options. I'm not blindly jumping at anything anyone just suggests. Who I was told by was the Judge himself. You have 30 days to appeal and a good enough reason to, which I do. You just don't do it yourself. You go through your attorney. Any good suggestions/ideas/opinions I can take with me to talk about. Another thing is that epilepsy CAN be controlled properly in most cases where you don't have to give up your DL or make many other life changes because of it, so there was no concern about me watching the children at that time.

    As far as watching children with a medical condition, wrong. I had a one of seizure, that happened to be a Grand Mal, and to even be defined epileptic you must have TWO or more seizures with unknown cause. Neurologist I spoke with said they give EVERYONE that comes to them that one and then progress if another is had. My second one didn't happen until AFTER this incident with the law. The medical process is slow and I am to see a neurologist in May for the second time since the Grand Mal. I've been pursuing answers since November 2021.

    The last thing I will add is some might need to know the difference between "willingly or by culpable negligence" and something like involuntary intoxication which better suits what happened and CAN be proven.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2022
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I don't know about some, mate, but I am a licensed Osteopathic Physician and Attorney, who understands everything that you posted.

    I know precisely how your state, Florida, defines "involuntary intoxication" as it applies to defense at trial.

    What is an example of involuntary intoxication in Florida?
    Voluntary intoxication is not a defense in Florida.

    Involuntary intoxication is, however, under certain circumstances.

    The offense charged must either be first degree, premeditated murder, or a specific intent crime.


    You admitted hereinabove to taking the drug that is alleged to have placed you into a sleep like stupor.

    I suggest you speak with your attorney for more information about the laws which cause you great frustration, consternation, and some inconvenience.
     
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  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    As I said before, the best option is one that doesn't leave you with a criminal record.

    Then do it.

    You don't need to take anything with you, just yourself. Everything else is already on record and your attorney will know what to do with it.
     
  10. William Burgess

    William Burgess Law Topic Starter Member

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    Well I had to look into some facts and honestly, I'm disappointed. I was specifically told that "no contest" was not guilty/or guilty. I wondered if that was the case why adjudication was being withheld, why I was being punished, and why I was being treated as if I was a convicted felon. I finally found my answer so now I can agree that I feel like I should have fought it but I needed more answers.

    (c) A person who knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    That is the definition of the law I was charged with. In this case I am being told that this does count as a specific intent crime. If that is the case then involuntary intoxication should apply. Involuntary intoxication in this case being jury instructions for a specific intent case.

    The defense of involuntary intoxication can be applied when defendant was involuntarily intoxicated to the point that he or she could not form the requisite intent. This defense applies when:

    The defendant, without any fault on his or her part, unknowingly ingested an intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance, or knowingly ingested an intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance because of force, fraud, duress, or trickery; and
    As a result, the defendant was so intoxicated that he or she could not form the intent to commit the specific charge at the time of the offense.
    The use of medication, consumption of an intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance that merely arouses passions, diminishes perceptions, releases inhibitions, or clouds reason and judgment does not excuse the commission of the crime. However, when a certain mental state is an essential element of the crime, and the person was involuntarily intoxicated to the extent that she or he was incapable of forming the mental state, the crime was not committed. If the jury finds that the defendant was intoxicated to the extent of being incapable of forming the requisite intent, it should find the defendant not guilty.

    Now obviously I'm not on here trying to prove to anyone what happened or didn't. That would be what I would need to do later, but just running back through that I figured I probably should say it this way. I consider going to sleep laying down, or being in a relaxing position such as reclining in a chair, and well closing your eyes and going to sleep. Passing out on the other hand to me is similar to what happened. Could be standing, sitting in a chair, not relaxed, not trying to go to sleep, and yet the last memory you have has nothing to do with you sleeping. In my case it's with clothes on (which I never sleep like that) and it's sitting up on the edge of a bed. This is one reason why I wonder if a seizure could have taken place in the first place because of state of confusion, disorientation, and the inability to really even put anything together. In fact, going back over it I was so "out of it" at that point I couldn't even process anything, didn't even know what was going on at the time. For the record though a "sleep like stupor" is not what I have said. All I said was it made me drowsy. Never posed an issue other than feeling a bit sluggish, but definitely not what I would call a "sleep like stupor." What I felt that day leading up to that incident was beyond anything that drug had even done or caused.

    As for the whole, best option is one not leaving me with criminal record, I agree. There are several downsides to this "no contest" that I was simply not aware of and provided I can prove that this was against my intent and for what reason, I honestly just feel like I should fight it.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    No contest is saying "I'm not going to fight the charges in exchange for avoiding a trial and prison. I'll accept the punishment of 1.5 to 3 years probation and give you $4000." You come out at the end without a conviction but also without an acquittal.

    The state is essentially blackmailing you into accepting punishment without being convicted. That's what plea bargaining is all about. Saves the state a lot of money that it would spend on trial and incarceration.

    Ah, deferred adjudication. That's something a bit different.

    The state has agreed not to seek a conviction in exchange for you agreeing to probation. At the end of the probation period, if you have successfully completed all the probation requirement, the charges will be dismissed and you'll not have a conviction on your record.

    That's the key. You took prescribed medication to control a potentially life threatening illness. It backfired and messed you up to the point where you had no idea what was happening.

    That's the defense.

    OTOH, going to trial is a crap shoot. Especially when children are involved and you also have to weigh the $4000 against potentially spending $20,000 to $30,000 to litigate.

    It's a decision that you are going to have to make on your own.

    I suggest you forget about that public defender and get yourself a real criminal defense lawyer.
     
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  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No contest plea:

    In Florida is there a difference between pleading “no contest” or pleading “guilty” to a criminal or traffic offense?”

    What Is A No Contest Plea?

    What Does “No Contest” and “Withhold of Adjudication” Mean?



    Here are the key differences in pleading Not Guilty versus pleading No Contest to a charge in Florida:

    1. When you enter a Not Guilty Plea you are formally denying the charges, with no wiggle room for an admission or for speculation as to what type of plea you are entering.

    2. When you enter a Plea of No Contest, you are neither denying nor admitting the charges. Instead, a No Contest Plea is a statement that you do not contest the charges against you. You are not admitting guilt, but you are admitting the basic facts


    What’s The Difference Between A No Contest And A Not Guilty Plea? - Key West Criminal Defense
    .
    .
    .
     
  13. William Burgess

    William Burgess Law Topic Starter Member

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    I am aware of what the basic difference between "not guilty" and "no contest" is, just wasn't sure of every single pro and con between them. I mean it was implied that it would be almost $1,500 and a $41 probation monthly fee and the 3 years probation, possibly 1.5 if I play my cards right. Then it turned into $4k because go figure, no one gives you the exacts.

    In terms of the medicine, I agree that I knowingly took medicine that had made me slightly drowsy before. It had never interfered with my ability to supervise the children, as I stated before. Unknowingly, I have two people I interacted with that noted I was very disoriented and confused during interactions before the incident. None thought anything about it though until it was too late, and sadly I was basically in "autopilot" at that point. I couldn't even fathom how bad it was. I almost wish I had just passed out and been found in the floor. Not sure if that would have made it look less intentional, or if it had made a difference at all.

    In terms of what "involuntary intoxication" pertaining to first degree felonies, specific intent crimes, etc. I can't help but winder if my charges would apply to specific intent. If it had truly been willingly then it fits the criteria, but I assume they went the direction of "by culpable negligence" instead, which puts it in a grey area for me really. I think we can all agree it doesn't matter what you "feel" is the case, you have to prove it beyond reasonable doubt, and even I would have to be fearful that they could make it look more like culpable negligence before I could make it look like involuntary intoxication , even though I have a doctor that would be more than willing to take the stand if need be, and is the doctor that prescribed me this medicine, along with several other supporting documents, character witness, etc.

    In terms of the money involving litigations, I simply don't have that kind of money to throw at something like this. Hell, at this point with how things went, I didn't even have the money to hire an actual "attorney." I feel the public defender was just happy he could get me what he did, and that could have been for very good reason. Even a probation officer that went over my case and got my side of the story said that "Probation is an inconvenience for an innocent man." I'm not a criminal in those regards, not am I a druggie. I have a stable family unit, and an open/welcome house. The more I think about this it really seems like the probation, no matter how ridiculous and inconvenient, is likely the best bet. Who knows at this point, and I'm not one to like beating a dead horse.

    I appreciate all the input and welcome any further input as well if need be. Thank you all.
     
  14. William Burgess

    William Burgess Law Topic Starter Member

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    Just wanted to note something else that is likely irrelevant at this point. When I put down the definition of the charges placed against me I made an error. (c) was not what was held against me. This was:

    (d) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    That is where the "willfully or by culpable negligence" comes in. I would argue that neither applied, and I had to think to (c) which does apply in this as well. I knowingly, and willingly took medicine. That is not the equivalent of neglecting a child or breaking the law in this case. It led to it unfortunately in what everyone agrees was a horrible accident that thankfully didn't lead, or result, in something far worse, for which I'm eternally thankful for.

    Regardless, I feel it's best to just ride out the probation. There's no guarantee that it would go my way in court, and because of my anxiety/seizures fired by stress, it likely wouldn't go well. I can be completely compliant with probation terms, my medicine has been changed a while back, and I'm still getting answers to my medical problem.

    The sad thing I notice about justice is what I call a two-way street of sorts. Sometimes, it's best to take the lesser of two inconvenient routes if it costs you less money because that's what talks these days. At the end of the day these charges could be argued round and around but that would just cost more money. I sadly do believe that the court "awarding" you an attorney if you cannot afford one is just an excuse to suck you into a way if monetizing the human condition to an extent, whether or not your are innocent, guilty, etc. That is not justice.
     
  15. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    Ultimately you need to talk to a lawyer. No one on here can predict anything or know what could happen if you appeal. Get a lawyer and don't post about it online anymore.

    You knew the side effects of that medication - as did your girlfriend - so it's not really "involuntary intoxication" because you knew the risks of taking it. I would consider someone being involuntary intoxicated if someone gave them a drug without their knowledge, laced something without their knowledge, etc. That's involuntary. If I had medical issues like yours, I'd be looking for a solution that wouldn't impair me around my children. That's me.
     

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