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Drug use leads to charge of child endangerment

Drug use is always risky, but a recent arrest in Wilkes-Barre shows how drug use with children present can lead to more serious criminal charges.

A man and a woman were sitting in a vehicle in a parking lot in a high crime area of Wilkes-Barre with two children, ages 2 and 7 in the rear seat. When they were approached by a police officer, the man in the driver's seat told the officer that he was awaiting a friend who was supposed to loan him $10. During the conversation, the officer noticed a plastic syringe cap on the console. A second officer saw a fully loaded syringe near one of the children in the backseat. The police then searched the car, and the complaint alleges that they found twenty packets of heroin and a cotton swab in the driver's side door pocket.

The two adults were arrested, and each of them was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment and one count of possession of a controlled substance and of drug paraphernalia. The man was jailed because he could not post a $7,500 bond, and the woman was released on unsecured bail. The two children were turned over to Luzerne County Children and Youth services.

The legal system assures everyone a fair trial, and every person charged with a crime is constitutionally entitled to a presumption of innocence unless they are proved guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The pair arrested in Wilkes-Barre are entitled to the same presumption. Nevertheless, any person charged with a crime should not rely entirely on the presumption of innocence to obtain an acquittal. Retaining an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible after charges are made may increase the probability that a defendant's constitutional rights will be fully protected. Moreover, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can provide an evaluation of the evidence in the case and the chances of winning an acquittal at trial.

Source: Scranton Times Leader, "Wilkes-Barre police: Pair injected heroin with kids in car," Edward Lewis, April 24, 2015

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