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DUI Arrests Up Over Labor Day Weekend Which May Complicate A Child Custody Dispute

Child-Endangerment-OTS-145x145.jpgStatewide, there was an increase in drunken driving arrests and alcohol-related fatalities this Labor Day weekend compared to last year, the California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday.

Statewide, 1,531 drunken driving arrests were made over the three-day weekend, compared to 1,521 last year.

There were also 21 fatalities in CHP jurisdiction, compared to 10 last year, the CHP said.

Drivers who had children in their vehicles at the time of their arrests can face additional criminal charges of willful cruelty or child endangerment.

California Penal Code section 273a prohibits acts of child endangerment. A person violates section 273a when an he or she either (1) places a child in a dangerous situation, or (2) allows a child to be placed in a dangerous situation without taking steps to protect the child.

A violation of this penal code section may result in a loss of custody to the offending party, as the non-offending parent may file an emergency custody petition. At the enforcement hearing, the court may issue a temporary, emergency custody order in appropriate circumstances; for example, if the child would be endangered by enforcement of a custody or visitation order.

Moreover, at the enforcement hearing, the court must award the fees, costs, and expenses authorized by law. The court may also grant additional relief, including a request for the assistance of law enforcement officials, and may set a further hearing to determine whether additional relief is appropriate.

When determining custody the standard is always what is best for the child. Whether a parent should have custody of a child is determined on the basis of conditions existing at the time of the hearing and is not necessarily controlled by the parent's prior conduct. However, prior conduct may, of course, be considered by the court in determining the best interests of the child. For example, a court may consider past episodes in which a parent has not properly cared for a child.

The Law Offices of James V. Sansone assists individuals in child custody disputes and defense of criminal charges throughout the North Bay area of California, including Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Lake County, Santa Rosa, Napa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport and Kelseyville

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