How Will a First DUI Offense Affect Child Custody?

Divorce and child custody

In most circumstances, DUI convictions result in severe consequences. Not only will it affect your freedom, finances, and career, but it can also have an effect on child custody cases. This is especially true if you are convicted of a DUI offense while you have a child in your vehicle. However, any DUI conviction can be a cause of concern for a judge. In many cases, if a parent who already has custody or is vying for custody is convicted of a DUI, the court may involve the services of a social worker to further investigate whether or not the drinking presents a danger to the child.

Though there is a possibility of a judge revoking or denying the custody of a parent who is convicted of a DUI offense, it is not always the case. If it is your first offense and you can prove to a family court that driving under the influence and/or being regularly intoxicated is not your normal pattern, then you may be able to retain or gain custody of your child. Learn more about how a first time DUI offense will affect child custody below.

How a DUI Can Affect Your Chances of Obtaining Custody

A DUI charge can cause a reverberation of negative consequences across all spheres of your life. However, a DUI conviction is not always the “final nail” in a child custody battle. The family court judge will also take into account your past behavior, previous convictions, whether or not you have completed a recovery program, etc. If you are able to show the court that your momentary lapse in judgment wasn’t indicative of the typical choices that you make, then there is a possibility that the court will not hold your conviction against you. It is in your best interest to work with a DUI attorney like the professionals at Parikh Law Firm before you are convicted to increase the chances of having your case dismissed, charges decreased, or penalties lessened.

The Effects of a DUI Charge on Custody Cases

If you are a parent that is seeking legal custody of your child, but not physical custody, the effect of a DUI charge may not have much of an impact on a judge’s decision to either grant or deny custody. A DUI conviction will likely not affect your decision-making process on the matters that you are responsible for as a legal custodian. However, if you are seeking physical custody, a DUI charge can have a major impact on your case. While some effects of a DUI conviction can be mitigated, the stigma of irresponsibility can cause a judge to deny custody. This is mainly due to the possibility of your lifestyle presenting an imminent danger to your child.

How Working With an Attorney Can Be Helpful

If you have been charged with a DUI in the midst of a custody battle, it is recommended that you immediately contact a proven DUI attorney. Though hiring a lawyer does not guarantee that you will have your charges dismissed or dropped, it certainly increases the chances of a successful outcome. Furthermore, if you are convicted, a family court judge may overlook the mistake, but they will not overlook the fact that you cannot drive, have lost your job, and can’t find affordable housing. All of which are potential consequences of a DUI conviction.