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Substance Abuse May Result in Termination of Parental Rights


There are many different types of substance abuse in Texas. One of the most common is alcoholism. As a result, when most people think of the effects of substance abuse in a legal context, there is a lot of focus on drunk driving.

As a result, many states put measures in place to keep drunk drivers off the roads. According to FindLaw, in Texas that could mean jail time and/or a driver’s license suspension of up to 2 years by the third offense. If people were injured or killed while committing this offense, the severity of punishment drastically increases.

Another consequence that many people do not consider is the loss of child custody, or worse, the termination of parental rights. As the American Addiction Centers organization points out, custody is dependent on being able to provide a safe and stable environment for the child. DUIs jeopardize this as the other parent may request a judicial hearing to determine whether or not it is safe for the arrested parent to continue to enjoy custodial rights.

If the child was in the vehicle during the commission of any of these offenses, this creates an unfavorable situation for the parent struggling with substance abuse. Along with the potential addition of child endangerment charges, a child’s presence during a drunk driving charge may lead to the involvement of child protective services even when the other parent chooses not to act. In these instances, child protective services may launch an investigation to determine parental fitness.

There are many good reasons addicts should seek out the help they need. There are even more good reasons they should not get behind the wheel when under the influence. Hopefully, the potential for the loss of parental rights and privileges may encourage more people to think twice about operating a vehicle when drunk or high.