Koons Fuller Case Study: Soberlink Real-time Alcohol Monitoring Solution Provides Admissible Evidence in Family Law Court

February 19, 2020
Koons Fuller Case Study: Soberlink Real-time Alcohol Monitoring Solution Provides Admissible Evidence in Family Law Court

Introduction

KoonsFuller, established in 1978 by Bill Koons and Ken Fuller, is one of the first law firms in Texas to handle divorce and child custody exclusively. The KoonsFuller team consists of board-certified Family Law all-stars who work in 5 offices across the state of Texas. KoonsFuller has a reputation for taking remarkably good care of their clients. Their mission is to provide high-quality legal services and superior results for clients who demand the best Family Law representation possible.

The Challenge

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, ten percent of children live with a parent who abuses alcohol. There are strong links that have been found between child maltreatment and alcohol use , which can come in a variety of forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect. This makes alcohol a significant issue when it comes to child safety. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to provide evidence that proves or disproves if a parent is abusing alcohol and whether that behavior is occurring during a time that is dangerous to the child.

The challenge KoonsFuller attorneys often face is the ability to provide evidence when a client is being accused of alcohol abuse that endangers the child. For the parent that is accused, the ability to provide proof of the contrary is essential to obtaining custody. Sherri Evans, Managing Shareholder and board-certified Family Law Attorney at the Houston office of KoonsFuller, describes one case she worked in which “the court was looking for the best interests of the child. The judge had a he-said-she-said situation with no further evidence and had no alternative but to err on the side of helping the child, which could have meant removal of custody from the accused parent.”

Clients on both sides of the case need to be able to provide evidence when alcohol is involved in child custody. “I have represented people with alcohol problems and clients on the other side,” Evans continues. “As a lawyer, I need to know if my client is drinking. I need evidence for when one side is saying, ‘drunk, drunk, drunk’ and the other side is saying ‘no, no, no.’” The ability to provide this evidence is crucial during a child custody and alcohol case. Unfortunately, KoonsFuller found obtaining this evidence to be a difficult task. Most clients do not already have documented proof of sobriety, and the solutions currently available, such as urine testing, did not have a real-time aspect of ensuring child safety during parenting time. Understanding this, Evans and the KoonsFuller team needed to find a real-time alcohol monitoring solution to provide admissible evidence in family law court.

The Solution

Evans immediately saw the benefits of Soberlink alcohol monitoring, which she learned about in a seminar.

Alcohol monitoring with Soberlink provides documented proof of sobriety that allows judges to make better decisions in the best interests of the child. “Just because my client uses alcohol, does not mean they are not a good parent,” says Evans. In custody cases, a parent who drinks or has been diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder will not be automatically denied custody rights if they have a track record of sobriety and responsibility. An alcohol monitoring tool like Soberlink allowed Evans’ client to “take the ammunition away from the other party and address the accusations being made against them.”

The Soberlink system consists of an FDA-cleared breathalyzer device with wireless connectivity that sends alcohol test results in real-time to Concerned Parties. Since 2011, Soberlink has supported child safety in all 50 states and Canada by providing documented proof of sobriety that aids in the litigation process and creates peace of mind during parenting time. Evans and the KoonsFuller team trust Soberlink to provide evidence that will stand up in court.

In a white-paper by the former judges of the Justice Speakers Institute, Soberlink is established as a “reliable measurement instrument admissible under both Frye and Daubert standards that can accurately detect the presence of alcohol so long as the proper foundation is established.” Soberlink offers facial recognition, tamper detection, and real-time results, setting the system apart from all other alcohol monitoring solutions as a means to provide court-admissible documented proof of sobriety. “Soberlink is reliable. It has consistent testing and monitoring, and the system is always improving,” says Evans. “I’ve worked with other companies that will have false positives, and lawyers don’t know what to do with that.” With Soberlink, if a client follows testing instructions, “there is not even an opportunity for that to be a problem.”

Courts in all states are responsible for making many custody decisions that ultimately affect the child. The evidence that Soberlink provides allows KoonsFuller attorneys to present evidence that helps judges to make choices that are genuinely in the best interests of the child. “I definitely recommend Soberlink in any case where there is alcohol abuse or alleged abuse,” says Evans, “using Soberlink helps me mitigate and gives me more evidence stronghold.”

Results

Having Soberlink provide court-admissible evidence helps to keep children safe and brings peace of mind to both parties. Soberlink helps clients and Family Law attorneys beyond just the evidence. Soberlink provides many professional family law resources, including a Family Law Order form, Soberlink Best Practices, and an Order Language Outline, all created to help attorneys through the alcohol monitoring set up process. Sherri Evans has used Soberlink and all its resources for over five years and continues to work closely with the Soberlink Family Law team, who helps her “understand exactly what I need to do. For example, how do I draft my order? The things I’ve been taught are extremely useful. I absolutely recommend it.”

About the Author

Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind.

Learn More About Soberlink

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