State v. Watkins, 247 N.C. App. 391 (May. 3, 2016)

The evidence was sufficient to survive the defendant’s motion to dismiss a misdemeanor child abuse charge under G.S. 14-318.2(a). The case arose from an incident in which the defendant left her young child unattended in a vehicle on a cold day. The State proceeded on the theory that she had created or allowed to be created a substantial risk of physical injury to the child. The court found the evidence sufficient, noting that she left the child, who was under 2 years old, alone and helpless and outside of her line of sight for over 6 minutes inside a vehicle with one of its windows rolled more than halfway down in 18° weather with accompanying sleet, snow and wind. It concluded: “Given the harsh weather conditions, [the child’s] young age, and the danger of him will being abducted (or of physical harm being inflicted upon him) due to the window being open more than halfway, we believe a reasonable juror could have found that Defendant ‘created a substantial risk of physical injury’ to him by other than accidental means.”