Parents have certain duties to their children. They have to provide them with the basic necessities of life, which include shelter that meets state standards, adequate nutrition, healthcare and basic education.
Parents also have to avoid actions that would actively harm or endanger their children. For example, the state might take action against the parent who leaves a three-year-old child at home alone or who takes physical discipline too far and breaks a child’s bone.
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a state organization that investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. There are numerous scenarios in which CPS could knock on your door and involve itself in your relationship with your children. If a parent gets arrested for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense, CPS might show up at their home if their children were in their vehicle.
Impaired driving puts everyone at risk
Intoxicated drivers are substantially more likely to cause a crash than those who stay sober at the wheel. It is bad enough to choose to drive by yourself or with another adult in the vehicle when you know that you’ve had too much to drink. Children don’t have the luxury of refusing to ride with you.
The state intervenes on the behalf of children by imposing aggravated DWI penalties against those who have underage children in their vehicles. Instead of a misdemeanor, you will face felony charges if you get arrested for a DWI with children under the age of 15 in your vehicle.
Additionally, the state will likely inform CPS of the incident. A CPS investigation can turn your life upside down. It could start with your children getting pulled out of class in the middle of a random school day and culminate with CPS workers trying to walk through your house and scrutinize every inch of your space.
If they substantiate the claims against you, you could very well face the children’s removal from your home or additional complications while dealing with your DWI charges, such as child endangerment allegations. Defending against criminal charges could diffuse the CPS investigation. You also need to educate yourself about your rights when you know that CPS may try talking their way into your home or taking action against you.
Understanding your rights as a parent can help you when you face a CPS investigation related to DWI charges.