Those who have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) understand the serious costs that can be associated with such charges. DUIs are expensive, as they lead to a loss of driving privileges, potential fines, increased insurance premiums, and even possible jail time. Besides all these troubles, can drunk driving charges also lead to trouble in a child custody dispute?
For those concerned about the impact of DUI on child custody, one of the most important factors to consider is time. For instance, a DUI arrest that took place 10 or more years ago may come up in the course of a custody determination, but will typically not have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the case. Only in extreme cases will such an old DUI case matter, such as those where someone died or was seriously injured.
For more recent incidents, DUIs will likely play a more important role. For instance, if the arrest happened within the past few months, it is quite possible that you could face jail time or a suspended license, either of which would obviously impact a custody determination.
Even those cases in which punishment has already been handed down, a DUI conviction can still be important. For instance, repeat offenders are often at a high risk of losing custody of their children. Knowing that a person has a history of drunk driving could easily sway a judge against awarding custody, fearing that the children themselves could be endangered by the dangerous behavior.
Remember that at the end of the day, the job of the Family Court judge is to decide custody based on what is in the child's best interest. That means that virtually anything can be considered if a judge believes it impacts the child.