ND Mom Pleads Guilty For “BWI”

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for weird news. You know the ones: stories like the recent sea of bunnies littering a front yard in New Mexico or the four Alaskans who recently won the Competitive Facial Hair Competition (the one historically “dominated” by the Germans) or the SC governor who disappeared for 5 days, said he was hiking and now says he was in Argentina (um … wtf??). When the law’s involved, it’s usually sure to get a chuckle out of me, for instance: the Massachussetts guy, sure to be the next Mensa candidate, who got busted because he was trying to sell his pot on CraigsList. Priceless. But the latest of the tall but true tales is, well, ridiculous.

A 23-year-old mom in North Dakota pled guilty yesterday to a felony charge of child neglect for breastfeeding her 6-week-old while “extremely intoxicated.” According to the local paper, police were called to the residence to investigate a domestic disturbance, found the mom intoxicated and nursing, ordered her to stop and she failed to comply. Now, I couldn’t find a single story that explains what “extremely intoxicated” in the eyes of the local officers equals as a blood alcohol level, or whether they even administered a breathalyzer test? The story goes on that the officers called the local hospital and were told that “breastfeeding while intoxicated [that’s “BWI” for those of you keeping up] was not good for the child.” Well, sure. Given the baby’s weight and stage of development, even a little can effect the little one dramatically. But what’s the standard for it to become child neglect? … a DUI level (.08) or is any amount contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

In North Dakota, the maximum penalty for a Class C felony (the charge for which mom will be sentenced on August 7th) is a sentence of 5 years and a fine of $5,000. But for a DUI, you get 5 strikes before you get to that level of a penalty, getting only a max of 180 days and $250 for a first offense. It seems a bit unbalanced to me, and considering that it’s a first of its type of case, I’m thinking it’s more for the spectacle. But, hey, at least mom won’t, according to the Court, have to register as an offender against children. Aw, the silver lining.

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