A 28-year-old woman in Texas recently pleaded guilty to homicide resulting from criminal negligence and thus will spend 400 days in prison after accepting a plea deal. According to authorities, the woman caused her baby to die by co-sleeping with the child, and methadone was also found in the child's system. This is not the woman's first run-in with the law; she was previously accused of other drug crimes in Texas as well.
The incident that led to the woman's most recent arrest occurred in October 2014. Police at the time said they discovered a dead baby inside a home. An autopsy later revealed that co-sleeping caused the baby's death.
A medical examiner also indicated that methadone was in the child's blood system and that this drug likely contributed to the baby's death. The woman's blood also ended up testing positive for the painkiller. However, she had not been prescribed this drug.
Being accused of drug crimes in Texas can understandably be disheartening, as a drug conviction can lead to prison time, fines and difficulty claiming a job in the future. However, it is within the rights of those facing drug charges to aggressively fight these charges at trial, where prosecutors must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt before convictions can happen. This standard has been established in an effort to prevent innocent people from facing convictions and related sentences. As an alternative, a defendant may seek to negotiate a plea deal, which might result in a lighter charge and thus a more lenient sentence than what would be rendered following a guilty verdict at trial.
Source: waxahachietx.com, "Mother, 28, accepts guilty plea to criminally negligent homicide", Andrew Branca, Feb. 12, 2018