Rights During a Rowayton DCF Investigation

If you are charged with a criminal offense in Connecticut, you have various rights guaranteed to you under the United States Constitution which law enforcement and court authorities cannot infringe upon under any circumstances. While being investigated by the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) for suspected child abuse or neglect is not the same as being investigated for a suspected criminal act, many of the same Constitutional rights apply to both scenarios, most notably your right to retain legal representation throughout the entire process.

However, you also have some additional rights during a Rowayton DCF investigation which the DCF itself may not be very clear about when interacting with you. Here is a brief overview of what those rights may be in your situation, all of which a skilled DCF defense lawyer can explain in more detail and, if necessary, provide crucial assistance with enforcing.

Speaking to Investigators Personally

When the DCF knocks on your door after opening an investigation into you, they will likely say that they want to ask you some questions and very strongly imply that you do not have a choice about whether you answer those questions. In reality, though, you always have the right to refuse to speak with DCF investigators, or—as is more often prudent—to delay speaking with them and answering their questions until you have first had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel.

Letting Investigators Speak to Your Children

Along similar lines, you are not required by law to allow DCF investigators to speak with your children about an investigation without you being present, and you may sometimes be able to prevent them from speaking to them at all. That said, refusal to allow the DCF to have at least some access to your children during an investigation may be held against you as evidence that you are trying to hide abuse or neglect, so enforcing this right during a Rowayton DCF investigation very often necessitates help from a seasoned defense attorney.

Signing Releases for DCF to Speak With Other People

As part of their investigation, DCF will want to ensure that your children are getting proper nutritional, medical, and educational care, and they may ask to sign a release form allowing investigators to speak directly with your child’s doctors, teachers, and other caretakers. However, you have the right to refrain from signing any such releases and to negotiate with DCF investigators to provide the information they want in some other way—again, something that legal counsel can provide crucial assistance with accomplishing.

Finding Out Who Reported You to DCF

One notable right you do not have during a Rowayton DCF investigation is the right to know who specifically reported you to the DCF for alleged child abuse or neglect if the investigation into you began from a third-party report rather than a “family violence” arrest (wherein the police or court personnel would have likely made the referral). DCF is under no legal obligation to reveal the identities of mandated reporters—or anyone else—who make such a report, and the time and energy necessary to potentially figure it out on your own is always better spent focusing on proactively protecting your own rights and best interests during the investigation.

A Rowayton Attorney Can Explain All Your Rights During a DCF Investigation

As any experienced attorney could tell you, having certain rights during legal proceedings does not always guarantee that those rights will be respected. Unfortunately, it may fall to you as an individual facing a DCF investigation to know what your rights are in the first place and then to ensure investigators do not trample over them.

Fortunately, you have support available with enforcing your rights during a Rowayton DCF investigation from knowledgeable legal professionals. Call today to discuss your options with someone from our team here at Mark Sherman Law, or read our reviews from past clients on Avvo by clicking here.

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