By Grace Casagrande

Earlier this week a woman was arrested with for selling crack-cocaine in front of her 1-year-old daughter in Riviera Beach, FL.

This case is a perfect example of overlap between the spheres of criminal and family law. In looking to the criminal case, the first question would be what led the officers in this case to stopping Ms. Gaines. A hunch or general suspicion of criminal activity is not enough. In order for the Officers to have made a lawful stop of Ms. Gaines in front of the motel room, they must have had articulable reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The next question would be the basis for the search of the hotel room. Despite being in a hotel room, Ms. Gaines still has a 4th Amendment right from unlawful search of the room she was occupying. I would also question whether she was the only person who had access to the room and whether she had knowledge that the substance was there. In order to prove the Sale of a Controlled Substance, the State would have to prove (1) that she sold or possessed with the intent to sell or distribute a controlled substance, (2) that the substance was a controlled substance, and (3) that she had knowledge of the controlled substance. § 893.13(1)(a), Fla. Stat. In proving that the substance was a controlled substance, the results of the FDLE lab report would be extremely important.

mom arrested for selling crack-cocaine in front of 1-year-old daughter

In turning to the child abuse charges, the State would have to prove that Ms. Gaines knowingly and willfully abused the child in this case. They would likely allege that she did so by committing an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the child. § 827.03(2)(c), Fla. Stat. It is unclear whether the alleged abuse was knowing or willful or whether any physical or mental injury resulted. Whether the child was actively observing the alleged activity to the extent where she would be mentally harmed would be an important factor in weighing the strength of the basis for the arrest and the State’s case if they decided to pursue charges. She is likely being held on a revoked bond due to previously bonding out on other charges before the recent arrest. She would need a bond motion laying out the reasons why she is not a danger and not a flight risk to be released.

Ms. Gaines appears to have run into some family law problems because of her arrest as well. The potential consequences the criminal case could have on her right to custody of her child make investigating and litigating all aspects of the evidence even more important. The Attorneys at Smith & Eulo have experience in fighting for people facing a wide array of legal problems through each phase of a criminal case.

If you or a loved one needs the assistance of one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys, don’t hesitate to call us at 352-WIN-4YOU We are available 24/7 and we offer payment plans.