If You’re Being Investigated, Get a Lawyer
Video Transcribed: DHS is investigating you, and they’re telling you they think your spouse is a piece of shit and you need to leave them. Can they take your kids away over that?
My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a father’s rights attorney in Tulsa. And we’re going to talk today about the specific scenario of what happens if you disagree with DHS’s conclusions at the end or during the pendency of a DHS investigation in Oklahoma.
So the usual situation you’d be dealing with in that kind of an investigation is what’s called failure to protect, and that’s specifically defined under Title 10(a) and basically without going into the express language of the Statute, essentially what it is if you know or have reason to know that your child is being abused or neglected and you fail to take action to stop it, you could be guilty of failing to protect.
Now, the way the statute reads it’s a conduct-based standard. In other words, you have to actually do something or omit to do something, and typically with failure to protect it’s omitting to do something in order for that to come into play. However, that’s the language of the statute.
In practice, DHS can and does take the position, and assistant DA’s who prosecute these cases, they’ll take the same position that if the department makes a finding of abuse or neglect against a romantic partner for example, and you disbelieve the conclusions, even if you were willing to cooperate with them, that that could be considered failure to protect.
Now, my advice to you is first of all if you’re being investigated, get a lawyer, but also you want to cooperate with the department, at least within reason.
If you don’t cooperate you’re going to jam yourself up worse, and that’s going to back up what they’re saying about there’s a failure to protect because well, you’re not cooperating.
So you do want to cooperate and you definitely want a lawyer so they can help you ascertain where that line is because there are some types of cooperation that you definitely want to do, and there are some things you may not want to do, particularly if you’re dealing with an allegation that could also add up to criminal charges.
Because I’m here to you right now social workers will sell your ass down the river in 10 seconds flat to the police if they think you committed a crime. They are not your friend, and they’re not there to help you avoid a criminal charge.
Also, I’ve seen numerous examples of social workers trying to give people legal advice, and one, they shouldn’t be doing that because they’re not lawyers and that’s the unauthorized practice of law. And two, more often than not what they tell people is 100% incorrect, or it’s incorrect to a point. So don’t take their advice as to legal matters, talk to a lawyer, get your own.
I do recommend though being cooperative and as much as you’re able to stand it be polite. If you make it personal with the DHS worker they will make you pay for it, and we’ll be sure to frame whatever they tell the district attorney a certain way if you understand what I’m saying. So being polite is a good thing.
If your romantic partner, whether it’s a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, whatever, whatever you want to call them, is a problem, they need to be out of the household and away from the children until the issue is resolved.
Because if you’re bringing that person around you are a part of the problem. And even if you are sure they didn’t do anything, the best thing you can do is have them out of the picture until the situation is resolved.
And if that means they move out for a while then they move out for a while. Because if you don’t move them out you’re definitely going to be considered part of the problem. So those are some things you can do.