Recently on our DUI forum a driver asked, “I had a DUI arrest last week with my eight year old son in the car. Child Protective Services (CPS) was notified and now they want to do an investigation. What are my rights and what should I do?”
Who is CPS and why do they care about my DUI arrest?
Child Protective Services (CPS) is the agency which investigates all allegations of abuse and neglect within a state, including a DUI arrest that jeopardizes the safety of your child. If you have been arrested for criminal activities which the state believes threatens your child’s health and well-being the police have every right to contact CPS and have them investigate.
Unfortunately, even if you are an outstanding parent who made one mistake, this type of mistake could have jeopardized your children. In fact, driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the leading causes of death of drivers and passengers. For this reason the state will take a DUI arrest very seriously.
What can CPS legally do after a DUI arrest?
Now, the important thing to understand is that CPS has the right to remove your children from your care if, after a thorough investigation, they determine that your children are not safe in your home.
For this reason it’s important to contact a family law attorney, in addition to a DUI lawyer, after a DUI arrest and make sure you understand your rights and what information and actions you should take to improve your chance of keeping your children.
For example, although you generally want to cooperate with CPS, they do have the right to have the police file additional criminal charges against you if they find cause during their investigation.
Steps after DUI arrest
After you have been arrested for DUI there are several steps you can take which could improve your legal situation. For example, you can voluntarily go to an agency which provides assessments for drug and alcohol abuse and follow their recommendations.
Showing evidence to CPS that you are willing to take the necessary steps to resolve your issues and provide a safe home for your child in the future may be enough to satisfy CPS, eliminating their need to take any additional actions against you following your DUI arrest.
What you absolutely do not want to do following a DUI arrest is to refuse to cooperate with CPS, continue actions which can be considered detrimental to your child’s safety, fail to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation, which could include refusing to go to a drug and alcohol treatment facility, or fail to consult with a DUI lawyer and a family law attorney.
If the CPS has any reason to believe you have not taken the steps necessary to end substance abuse following a DUI arrest, you have refused to participate in a substance abuse program, you started a program but stopped attending, or they receive word from a family member or friend that you are taking drugs or drinking alcohol while driving, they can remove your children from your home.
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