Where Family Law and Criminal Law Intersect – CPS Investigations
Happy Friday everybody. Hope you’re all having a great week. I want to continue our series this week on the intersection of criminal law and family law issues. This week we’re talking about CPS investigations, Child Protective Service investigations. There are a multitude of ways that you could find yourself the subject of a CPS investigation. Sometimes they’re very innocuous, very routine, and sometimes they’re incredibly serious and something that require the utmost of care, attention and respect. So, anybody would understand or assume that if there’s an allegation of child abuse or injury to a child or anything like that, that CPS would be investigating the case in tandem with the police agency to whom the report was made.
But what a lot of people don’t recognize is if there is an assault family violence allegation or if there’s a domestic dispute even if it’s a class C assault family violence which is just an assault by contact so a push a shove sometimes even a slap in the face or something like that. If there’s an allegation of that type of criminal offense and the child was present in the home at the time, even if they weren’t involved whatsoever, they were asleep in their bed, it’s standard policy for CPS to open an ancillary investigation in tandem with the work that the police are doing.
The reason I bring this up is because it’s very important that you or anyone that’s going through something like this whether it’s a client, a family member or a friend, know that you should not under any circumstances talk to the CPS investigators before you consult with a criminal law attorney. What I often see happen is these investigating officers, these police officers, they will use CPS as an investigative arm that can get a little bit more access to you. It’s a little easier for a CPS investigator to get answers out of a criminal subject than it is a police officer.
Most people when they’re being questioned by officers have been trained well enough to know I need to speak with a lawyer and have that lawyer present for this interview so that they can watch my back and keep me safe. Most people don’t know that it’s also necessary to do that when you’re talking with CPS because anything you say to that investigator can be used against you in any criminal proceeding. Even if you don’t anticipate there being one it can become one in the future and now everything you said to that CPS investigator is fair game.
So, it’s important that if CPS has opened an investigation, you receive a letter, a phone call or a house visit from a CPS investigator take the time to consult with not only your family law attorney but also your criminal attorney. And if you don’t have one you should get one because there are many things that we can do to mediate that discussion between you and CPS. We can give them the information that they need to close their investigation and move on that do not subject you to the exposure of if you went in and sat down with them and gave a full recorded statement.
There are plenty of times when I have accompanied that client in to speak with CPS because I’ve done the risk calculation and gone over that with the client and I know that it is in our best interest to go talk to that investigator. But you should only make that decision once you’ve spoken to a criminal attorney about it. So yet again, this is another example of why if you have a family law dispute, if you’re going through a family law issue, another way where consulting with or having a criminal lawyer on standby could come in handy and save you a whole lot of grief and headache and heartache down the road. As always, if you have any questions about this or any of my other videos feel free to drop me a line, give me an email, give me a call. I’m happy to discuss this as well as any other questions you have with you. Hope y’all have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you next week.