Woman is sentenced for exposing her child to meth

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SANDPOINT — A Sagle woman accused of exposing her unborn son to methamphetamine apologized Friday for placing her child in harm’s way.

Nichole Dawn Maki Bowman said she loves her son dearly and never meant to hurt him, court records show.

Bowman, 28, was charged with felony injury to a child shortly after the birth of her son in December 2015. The child exhibited symptoms of withdrawal from the central nervous system stimulant, including decreased sleep, hyperthermia and increased respiration, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Bowman told Bonner County sheriff’s investigators that she stopped using meth upon learning she was pregnant, but blood from her son’s umbilical cord was analyzed. Bowman admitted using the drug a half-dozen times during her pregnancy.

Umbilical cord blood showed traces of amphetamine, meth and THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Bowman entered an Alford plea to the felony charge, meaning she admits no wrongdoing but concedes she could be convicted if her case went before a jury.

Bowman’s defense counsel, Deputy Public Defender Susie Jensen, recommended her client be placed in the state’s retained jurisdiction program so she could avail herself of treatment programs while incarcerated, court documents indicate.

First District Judge Barbara Buchanan ultimately adopted the recommendation and imposed a suspended one- to three-year prison term with retained jurisdiction, also known as a rider. When jurisdiction is retained, a defendant serves up to a year in prison before becoming eligible for probation.

Jensen said her client’s son is happy and healthy, according to court documents.

Bowman was the third Bonner County mother charged in 2016 with exposing their child to meth. One child died, although it could not be conclusively determined if the drug exposure caused the child’s death, according to court records.

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