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Ask Michael J, Esq. Your Own Question
Michael J, Esq.
Michael J, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3471
Experience:  Licensed Attorney - represented hundreds of clients in criminal cases, family law disputes, traffic issues, and general legal issues. Youth Court Prosecutor.
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I am currently going through a case with the az department

Customer Question

I am currently going through a case with the az department of child safety. I left my children in a locked vehicle for less than 10 minutes while i went to a familys apartment to see if they were home so we could get down, when i returned to the vehicle a police officer had passed my vehicle for an unrelated call and noticed the children so they talked to my 6 yr old through the closed window and was able to get her to unlock door. When i approached the vehicle the officer began to ask me why i left my child in the car i explained the situation they said i smelled of alcohol (i had few beers an hour before) and made me take a breathalyzer test. They did not arrest me but said they would report me to DCS..the caseworker for DCS says she understands the misunderstandig but says that due to policy my case of neglect will be substatiated and the reporting officer may pursue charges with the attorney general. What are my options how can i fight this? Im currently in the medical field and am about to start school for medical radiography. A substatiated neglect case with DCS alone will ruin my future career please advice. Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for contacting JustAnswer. My name is Michael; I look forward to assisting you today. I'm sorry to hear about your case. I'm a youth court prosecutor (defender in the past) so I am familiar with these issues. Has a case been started against you yet? Are the children still in your custody? Thanks, Michael
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No criminal charges yet but the dcs caseworker warned me they could file charges and have up to year and yes children are still with me DCS they have no intentions on removing them
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
*Dcs said they have no intentions on removing children
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Okay. Well, at this point, there is really nothing you can do since there is nothing pending against you. If you are charged criminally with neglect, you'll have the opportunity to defend the case in criminal court, where it must be found beyond a reasonable doubt that the situation warranted a finding of neglect (which in my opinion, it is not). If a DCS case is brought against you, the situation is a little different. The child can be removed and sometimes the child can be voluntarily placed with another family member while you attending classes/counseling/etc in order for DCS to be satisfied about your fitness as a parent. If they do remove the child and file neglect charges, you'll have the chance to fight those in the youth court as well. Please let me now if you're looking for any other specific info. If not, I'd appreciate a positive rating! I'll be happy to follow up if you have further questions. Michael
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well they have said children will not be removed but my case will be substatiated and then closed with no further action to be taken. Im waiting on the letter so I can appeal do you think I will or should obtain legal representation for the appeal?
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
If the report is being substantiated, it means they found "neglect" occurred. However, if they are saying the the case will be closed (instead of offering you certain services based on your actions) there is nothing else you'll be asked to do. The record of the abuse will remain confidentially with DCS and I don't believe its available to employers and the like.
So, it will be up to you whether you want that record gone or not. If you don't want the record there, your only option is to appeal, which will be explained in the letter. If you are going to appeal, you'll definitely need to speak to a lawyer who understands DCS policies.
Good luck!