State v. Watkins, 247 N.C. App. 391 (2016)

No Error

  • Misdemeanor child abuse involves a child younger than 16 years old and a parent who through non-accidental means inflicts, allows to be inflicted, or creates a substantial risk of physical injury to his or her child (G.S. 14-318.2(a)).
  • The court did not err when denying defendant’s motion to dismiss as the state introduced substantial evidence that Defendant created a “substantial risk of physical injury” to her 18-month child through an officer’s testimony that Defendant left her child in her car for over 6 minutes, was unable to observe her car during the 6+ minutes, and had turned the car off and had a window partially rolled down when it was 18 degrees outside with snow and sleet accumulating.
  • Defendant’s reliance on findings of fact that supported conclusions of neglect in juvenile proceedings (7B actions) illustrate some circumstances that can create a substantial risk of harm to a child. Those conclusions are not determinative on the jury, who in this case decides whether the Defendant created a substantial risk of physical injury to her child.


Criminal Cases with Application to Child Welfare
Misdemeanor Child Abuse
Substantial Risk of Harm
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