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Does a DUI charge affect child custody?

Posted by Sara Cooper | Aug 22, 2023 | 0 Comments

Generally, driving under the influence (DUI) offense will most of the time result into having severe consequences with strict laws applying individually from state to state.

It becomes more uncertain when applying those penalties onto the position of the person who is parent and has child custody or attempting to.

Does getting a DUI impact the access of your child and if so, what are the long-term effects? Standing alone, it may not be the purpose of the change of custody or denial of custody or even the approving of an emergency order. It is more so on the ability to parent and if alcohol abuse is involved, and then the DUI charge can be served as evidence.

Despite it being possibly the only offense or that you have the charge dismissed and have no issues with drugs and alcohol, the judge will most likely not use it against you in a child custody case as a parent.

 Your spouse can also request to make an issue on checking into your DUI case, and the court can look into your past. With that said, making the efforts with receiving the DUI offense is to have gone for treatment or have received alcohol counseling and have demonstrated your recovery properly.

A third party can still investigate the family, more intensely on the parent who has the DUI. This is typically done by a court appointed Child Representative or Guardian ad Litem, a liaison and representative for the interests of the minor(s) or children at focus.

They will report back to the judge on what they find and give their recommendations that the judge follows through. Here is what they do:

  1. Conducting an interview with you and your ex-spouse.
  2. Having another interview with the children or other family members in the house.
  3. There will be a thorough investigation of the arrested parent's daily life routine, the children's everyday schedule, and other regular habits of the household lifestyles.
  4. They may search the residence and/or car for evidence of drug, alcohol, or other substance abuse. Some examples of this could include empty liquor cans or bottles, and even a credit card statement containing proof of buying recent alcohol beverages.
  5. Possible (probable) random drug and alcohol testing with as little as 2-hours notice to see if the parent charged with a DUI is remaining sober and staying away from any amount of alcohol or drug use.

Child representatives also are not free, with each parent paying up to $2000 each or more on their services.

They can do surprise visits at your home or at your child's school depending on the state, and this is still all applicable even if your child was not present, in the car, of the arrest due to the DUI offense. If you have more than one DUI charge, the judge may not take your position in favor in the child custody case.

You are still eligible for legal custody even if you have been convicted of DUI charges. However, you may not be eligible for physical custody. Your spouse can argue that you can put your child or children at risk when driving with them in the car.

It is best recommended to contact an attorney that has grand experience on DUI charges, including us at Martens Law Firm at (661) 466-2142.

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