A visit from Child Protective Services (CPS) can be confusing and stressful for any parent. During such a visit, parents might make some poor decisions or provide dubious statements without being aware of it. Investigators who work for CPS have experience working with parents who are in such a situation. During their visit, if they notice something suspicious or if they suspect drug use, they might ask a parent to take a drug test.
While you may assume that you must agree to a drug test when CPS demands it, that is not the case. As with any police agency or law enforcement official, a CPS investigator cannot subject you to a drug test unless you agree to it or unless they have a warrant. So, if you do not give your consent to the CPS investigator, he or she will need a warrant to require you to take a drug test. And to do that, they need probable cause. While you have the right to not comply, you might be faced with other consequences.
Could a Refusal Affect Your Custody Case?
The biggest concern for parents if they are asked to take a drug test by a CPS investigator is whether their child custody terms will be affected by a refusal to take the test. Often, when CPS officials receive anonymous reports about child abuse or child endangerment, they launch an investigation. If they don’t find evidence to corroborate the report, they may not pursue it further. However, because CPS has authority over parents, many think not complying with a drug test request might result in their children being taken away from them.
If you are a parent in such a situation, you may also believe that complying with such a request might lead to the end of an investigation. However, the fact remains, that none of this could happen. If investigators are looking into a slew of issues, the drug test may just be one part of it. So, if you refuse to take a drug test, it will likely become a part of your case findings.
When a Drug Test Can Be Done
When CPS investigators have your consent or a court order, they can conduct a drug test. The agency often requires drug tests for parents who have lost a child due to addiction issues. Sometimes, they may even conduct random drug tests and put that down as a condition for parents to get their children back.
If a parent refuses to take the drug test, CPS could refuse to return their children. So, even though the drug test is supposed to happen with your consent, it might be forced because parents feel they must do so in order to get their children back. If police agencies are involved in an investigation, you should worry about potentially facing criminal charges.
In such cases, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights and help you do what is best for your children and your family. Being under CPS investigation can be an extremely emotional and stressful time for you. The potential for criminal charges could add more complications. A knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you assess your options and achieve the best possible outcome.