DUI's, Kids and CPS

Recently we at SQ Attorneys have had a few DUI cases involving child passengers.  As we all know by now, a DUI conviction in the State of Washington can … by itself … without any passengers (young or old) … have grave consequences.  Add a passenger or two and the consequences can, and will, go up, and additional charges may even be filed.  Add a passenger or two under the age of 16 and … well … you will be faced with even more mandatory penalties, and a visit from a friendly (or not so much so) Washington Child Protective Services (CPS) representative.

RCW 46.61.507 requires that when a person is arrested for either DUI or Being in Actual Physical Control of a vehicle while impaired (Physical Control) and the driver’s child, under the age of 16, is in the vehicle, Washington State Child Protective Services must be notified. The purpose of the CPS referral is not to remove the child or children from parental custody, but rather it is to perform a child welfare check to make sure that the child is not in any immediate danger of being harmed by the parent.

Once contacted, a CPS caseworker will reach out to the driver for purposes of conducting an interview and a child home welfare check. Generally this first contact is usually made within 24-48 hours of the arrest with the home visit scheduled as shortly thereafter as possible. The CPS caseworker will interview the parents or custodians, view the home and look into the general well-being of the child. If the caseworker assigned believes that, after reviewing the police incident report and interviewing the guardians, that the statute was more likely than not violated, a finding of “founded” will be entered into the guardian’s CPS file. If there have been no previous CPS referrals and the child does not appear to be in any danger, this will more often than not end the inquiry. On the other hand, if there have been previous referrals or the child does appear to be in harm’s way, the investigation will continue and further CPS action may follow.

It is always important to consult with a Seattle DUI lawyer in the event of any DUI arrest. In the event there is a minor involved, consulting with a Seattle DUI attorney is perhaps even more crucial considering the enhanced penalties one faces. The Seattle DUI lawyers that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are a highly skilled and experienced team of practitioners immensely dedicated to aggressively protecting the rights and interests of those accused of DUI in Western Washington. The Seattle DUI attorneys at SQ attorneys create success by working with both law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that their client’s integrity and overarching humanity, as well as the totality of the facts and circumstances related to the allegations, are considered in creating the most just, fair and equitable resolution possible.

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