If you have been arrested for a DUI and you had a child under 16 in your vehicle. Then you will be facing some increased penalties for the DUI. One of which is a possible investigation into the child’s well being by the division of child protective services. RCW 46.61.507 states the following
In every case where a person is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, the law enforcement officer shall make a clear notation if a child under the age of sixteen was present in the vehicle. A law enforcement officer shall promptly notify child protective services whenever a child is present in a vehicle being driven by his or her parent, guardian, legal custodian, or sibling or half-sibling and that person is being arrested for a drug or alcohol-related driving offense. This section does not require law enforcement to take custody of the child unless there is no other responsible person, or an agency having the right to physical custody of the child that can be contacted, or the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the child should be taken into custody pursuant to RCW 13.34.050 or 26.44.050. For purposes of this section, “child” means any person under sixteen years of age
So what exactly does this mean you ask. Imagine you went out to dinner with your family. You have a few beers and feel you’re perfectly fine to drive. After all you would never do anything to harm your family. Unfortunately you get stopped for committing a minor traffic infraction. The officer smells the odor of alcohol and places you under arrest for a DUI in Seattle and you get booked into custody.
The next day when you get out of jail there are a million things going through your mind. And you don’t even think as a result of your DUI arrest your kids could be taken from you. But according to RCW 46.61.507 that is a distinct and real possibility. And keep in mind even if charges were never filed, even if your DUI got dismissed or you were found not guilty at trial. CPS is still required to contact the individual arrested based simply on the DUI arrest. And the BS thing about this is if the officer was completely wrong and illegally placed you under arrest for DUI you will still face a visit from CPS. If you find yourself in this unenviable position it is always best to contact a DUI lawyer immediately to discuss what the safest course of action should be.
_ About the author: Matthew Leyba is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a DUI law firm located in downtown Seattle. He has been nominated as a Rising Star in the area of DUI defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive. Additionally he is rated as a Superb 10/10 Seattle DUI Lawyer by Avvo.com