How A DUI Can Affect Child Custody

dad and little son

Just about any divorce lawyer — in Tulsa, Miami, LA, or anywhere else across the nation — can tell you that there are multiple variables affecting matters of child custody. Your financial situation, for one, can play a role in what the state might determine to be the best interests of your child, as can your criminal background. 

In particular, says Boulder felony DUI lawyer Moorhead Law Group, your history behind the wheel can hold significant sway over how fit a parent others perceive you to be. Hence, it can play a big role in how child custody proceedings play out. Here’s what you need to know about DUIs and the impact they might have.

Why DUIs Might Matter

While it’s not true that a DUI will automatically prevent you from having custody of your child, having a DUI on your record prior to divorce proceedings may be cause for that information to come up during child custody negotiations. From there, the question of drug and alcohol use will become a factor.

Circumstances of your DUI could come into play so that the judge can make a determination of whether or not your use of alcohol will affect your ability to care for your child (and hence, child custody). 

If you have only one DUI, and the circumstances of that DUI show that you had no prior history of alcohol abuse, your child wasn’t with you at the time, etc., then a judge may determine that the DUI is not a significant factor in your parenting abilities and they may not really take it into consideration.

Alternatively, though, if your child was present when your DUI occurred, it may make a judge scrutinize the event more, and weigh it more heavily into their determinations. Similarly, if you have multiple DUI convictions on your record, it can give off the impression that you have a serious issue with substance abuse, and your ability to care for your child is compromised.

Tips For Dealing With DUIs

The best advice, obviously, is to avoid DUI situations entirely. Don’t drive under the influence, because the consequences can ripple into every other aspect of your life, including child custody matters. 

Barring that, though you’ll want to make sure you are well represented in the event that you are charged with a DUI offense, and that you seek the appropriate substance abuse counseling afterward so that it is obvious you are being proactive about what is potentially a serious issue.