Will CPS Take My Kids Away for Drunk Driving?


Michigan DUI Attorneys Representing Parents Charged With DUI With Kids in the Car in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Throughout the State

Driving while under the influence of alcohol can get you arrested and charged with DUI; however, when you drive under the influence with a child younger than the age of 16 in the vehicle, the situation becomes even more serious. You may have been arrested for drunk driving while one or more of your children were in the vehicle with you, and worried that CPS (Child Protective Services) will take them away. The fact is, if you operate a vehicle with your children present while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may face not only an additional charge of child endangerment, but enhanced penalties if convicted for DUI as well.

Typically, when an individual is arrested for drunk driving in the state of Michigan and that individual has a child or children in the vehicle, police will attempt to contact a responsible family member (spouse, aunt, uncle, etc.) to come pick the children up. The primary focus is to ensure the children are safe and secure. If a responsible adult cannot be located, CPS may be called to take custody of the children, although it is very rare that this action is necessary.

The Michigan DHS website defines child neglect as "placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child's health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child's health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk." Driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle could be classified as child neglect, so there is a possibility you will be required to go through the Child Protective Services process which may involve an investigation into your family life.

Ultimately, it is the job of CPS to ensure children’s safety. Child Protective Services focuses on helping resolve the issue in various ways including interviews with the child/children, parents, and other family members. Every case is unique, so CPS assesses every situation according to the information available.

Second-degree Child Abuse

In Michigan, a parent who is arrested for drunk driving with a child in the car may be charged with second-degree child abuse, as drunk driving is one example of reckless behavior by a parent. A conviction for second-degree child abuse may leave you facing up to four years in prison. In cases of child abuse, CPS generally conduct an investigation; the results of that investigation could affect your parental rights.

Whether your child or children may be taken away from you when arrested for drunk driving depends on a number of factors, so there is no definitive "yes" or "no" answer. Each case is determined on the specific facts of the case. Regardless, when arrested for drunk driving and potentially facing child endangerment or child abuse charges, it is imperative you seek the legal guidance and support of a seasoned Michigan DUI defense attorney.

If you have been arrested for DUI or any drunk driving offense while your children were in the vehicle with you, contact Grabel & Associates immediately. Our experience and proven results make our firm an outstanding choice in legal representation. Call our toll free number today for a free evaluation of your case at 1-800-783-4448 on contact us online now.