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Name: In re M.R. et al.
Case #: B271027
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/01/2017

Parents’ use of alcohol and refusal to accept responsibility for a drunk driving incident placed children at substantial risk of harm. Mother was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with her two children in the car. One child was four years old and the other child was 21 months old. The juvenile court sustained a 300(b)(1) petition, which alleged mother had endangered the children by driving under the influence, and speeding in excess of 80 miles per hour, with the children as passengers. On appeal, parents argued that the jurisdictional finding was error because the drunk driving incident was a one-time episode and there was no substantial evidence of an ongoing substantial risk of harm to the children at the time of the jurisdiction hearing. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Mother not only seriously jeopardized the safety of the children by driving intoxicated, but she continued to minimize the seriousness of the incident, and, at the time of the dependency proceedings, had not taken any significant steps to participate in programs concerning the use of alcohol. Further, there was also evidence that parents had engaged in an alcohol-related episode of domestic violence in the past. Thus, the juvenile court could reasonably conclude that there remained a risk to the children if parents’ alcohol use resumed such that supervision was warranted.