DCF Investigations Following a Risk of Injury Charge in Greenwich
DCF investigations following a risk of injury charge in Greenwich are complex and sensitive matters that require a great deal of care, consideration, and legal experience to deal with. Having help from a knowledgeable DCF lawyer during every stage of an investigation like this could make a huge difference when it comes to protecting your best interests.
How Do Risk of Injury Charges Prompt DCF Investigations?
Putting a child at risk of serious physical, mental, or moral harm is classified as a serious felony offense in Connecticut, meaning a criminal conviction could result in years of prison time as well as steep financial penalties. Regardless of how your criminal case plays out, the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) will almost certainly use the allegation against you as justification to open an investigation into your home life—one that could potentially result in severe repercussions.
Any time someone is arrested for a criminal offense classified as domestic violence and the alleged target(s) of the offense is the defendant’s family or household member(s), DCF may open an investigation to determine whether there is any danger of them harming the minor children in their household in the future. Even though risk of injury charges in Greenwich often do not involve anyone actively trying to harm a child, DCF still considers a referral based on this type of charge as possible evidence of more widespread child neglect or abuse, and the agency will always act accordingly by beginning an investigation.
DCF investigations typically begin with no warning and often involve investigators showing up to a defendant’s home for a surprise inspection within days of an initial arrest. Multiple inspections may occur over the course of an investigation, as well as multiple interviews with the defendant and all household and/or family members.
In total, the investigation can go on for a maximum of 45 days under state law. At the end of that period, the DCF commissioner will determine based on all gathered evidence and information whether to substantiate the underlying allegation that neglect or abuse is occurring and/or is likely to continue occurring in the future.
What Sanctions Could DCF Impose?
Depending on what evidence and information comes up during a DCF investigation following a risk of injury charge in Greenwich, the Commissioner may recommend placement on the DCF Central Registry, imposition of a restraining order, or removal of custody or visitation rights. While this recommendation can be contested through a formal appeals process, the standard of proof that DCF must meet during such an appeal is less strict than the standard applicable to criminal cases.
Importantly, this means that having risk of injury charges dropped or even being formally acquitted in criminal court does not guarantee that there will be no additional consequences from a DCF investigation. The two processes are completely separate and generally prioritize different things, as an experienced legal professional could explain in more detail.
Contact a Greenwich Attorney for Help Handling a DCF Investigation Following a Risk of Injury Charge
DCF investigations following a risk of injury charge in Greenwich tend to have especially high stakes given the severity of the underlying criminal offense. This being the case, support from experienced defense counsel is often crucial to getting through this kind of situation with minimal risk of long-term repercussions.
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