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Manufacturing or Delivering a Controlled Substance and Child Custody

Apr 26, 2008
Drug charges cover a broad range of offenses, from the less severe, such as simple possession of a small amount of drugs, to the more serious, such as participation in the ongoing manufacturing or distributing of drugs. Even minor drug charges, such as drug possession, can be frightening and carry the risk of serious penalties upon conviction. The more serious drug charges, of course, can give rise to even graver consequences. Past drug convictions, the amount of the controlled substance that was found, and the severity of the drug type usually dictate the severity of the charge(s) to be levied. Drugs posing a greater threat to the individual are typically treated with greater legal penalties. In addition to prison time, another significant consequence can be the loss of custody of children in the household.

Issues involving child custody are very complicated especially when one or both of the parents have been charged with a drug offense. Since the issue of child custody is a civil matter, the case will generally be assigned to a family court judge. It is important to note that the case in family court can proceed against a parent even though he/she has not been actually convicted of the drug offense. The standard of proof required in family court is much more relaxed than in criminal court and there is no limitation regarding the information the judge may consider in making a determination on the custody of a child.

If either parent is contesting that the other should not be given custody or visitation then the matter can get even further complicated. When one parent has placed the child in a dangerous situation (this includes exposing the children to illicit drugs) this parent's right of visitation can be denied and the other parent awarded sole legal and physical custody. In the alternative, the court can also order sanctions such as drug treatment and random tests to insure the safety of child.

Ultimately, the child's welfare is the court's paramount consideration. Of course, the fact of the personal relationships or circumstances of the parents are going to be relevant. The court will undoubtedly want to know if the fact that a parent is involved in drug activity is going to impact upon their ability to care for the child. The overall issue the family court will focus on is how the drug offense impacts that parent's ability to adequately care for the children.
About the Author
Neil Lemons represents Teakell Law. For more information on eyewitness testimony defense in the Dallas/Fort Worth area visit their website http://www.teakelllaw.com.
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