Child custody rights can be drastically affected by a criminal charge. Unfortunately, it can have pretty severe consequences and it may be worse if you have earned a DUI charge. You may very well suffer extreme social embarrassment, jail time and steep fees, but you may also implicate your child custody arrangement.
What Are the Impacts of a DUI on Obtaining Child Custody?
A DUI charge is serious and surely will be discussed during a custody hearing. Alcohol abuse is taken seriously by the family law courts and it often comes up as a point in hearings. Since a DUI charge can be used as evidence for alcohol abuse, you may be presented as a risk to your children.
The best option for you is to hire a criminal defense lawyer to fight for a lighter sentence or to render a verdict of not guilty in order to help your chances of retaining custody. A DUI charge hurts your case so much because it indicates your level of moral fitness as a guardian in a custody hearing.
Is My Custody Case Doomed?
Your DUI charge may not necessarily disqualify you from retaining custody. Depending on your behavior, background and particulars of the DUI. A court will look into your past to see if a pattern of alcohol abuse has been established. Although your spouse may want to highlight this particular accident, the court may not feel the same.
If that is your first and only offense, or you have no problems with alcohol and drugs and have complied with the sentence, then your DUI may not be used against you. If you show that you have gone to treatment or alcohol counselling, that will also strengthen your image in the eyes of the court. Be sure that your lawyer, like a family attorney Austin, TX trusts, is ready for a battle, because your spouse doesn’t want to lose either.
Is a DUI Conviction Going to Affect my Case?
Your conviction’s effects on your case will depend on the type of custody you are seeking; it may be different between legal custody and physical custody. A DUI conviction is unlikely to affect a decision of legal custody because it does not have an affect on decision-making regarding:
- Religious Education
- Choice of Schooling
- Cultural Education
However, you are likely to be negatively impacted if you are seeking child custody because they may argue that you prefer alcohol to socializing with your children which means that you may be an absentee parent and do not deserve custody. It may be suggested that you would even endanger them by driving under the influence with the children in the car.
In all matters, it is best to consult a criminal lawyer who can help you determine where you stand regarding a DUI charge and custody battle. While the lawyer cannot guarantee an outcome, they can give you an educated idea about where your charge puts you and how to best proceed in your battle.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay for their insight into child custody.