Will My DUI Affect My Custody?
Having a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) on your driving record can have serious repercussions not just for you, but for your family. Family courts may call your child’s safety into question if one parent is deemed an irresponsible or unsafe driver. If you plan to file for joint or sole custody of your children, a history of drunk-driving could hurt your chances. However, there are many circumstances that affect how this scenario unfolds.
For example, in New Jersey, Elizabeth NJ drunk driving attorneys Rispoli & Borneo note that a second time drunk driving offense may be treated like a first time offense, if the first offense occurred at least ten years prior. Clearly the further in your past a drunk driving offense, the better. However, this does not only help a DUI attorney, it will help your family court attorney’s case as well. Judges are generally more lenient if a parent can show that he or she has become more responsible since a DUI.
While we hope the above information makes you optimistic, we cannot downplay the negative effects drunk driving may have on your record: custody, and even visitation rights can be jeopardized. As the drunk driving attorneys in Elizabeth NJ will tell you, drunk driving can be more than a motor vehicle violation, and for some, can result in mandatory jail time. Multiple drunk driving offenses can result in mandatory jail time. Spending 180 days in jail will very likely hurt your case.
We understand that a divorce is stressful, and can allow us to lose perspective. It may be harder to take care of yourself during this time, but it is essential that you do so, not just for yourself but for the sake of your family. You will be expected to prove your responsibility. Before you can fight for custody, you should work to minimize any negatives on your driving record and your reputation as a whole. Speaking to a criminal attorney in Elizabeth NJ, or a drunk driving attorney in Elizabeth NJ— or whatever your region– will help you minimize the damage. Again, there are many factors in a DUI or DWI that can affect your custody and visitation rights. They may include:
- Whether your child was with you when you committed the infraction
- If this is your first violation
- If you have previously had your license suspended
- If your license is currently suspended
- The recency of your DUI
Speaking to a reputable drunk driving lawyer, like the drunk driving lawyers in Elizabeth NJ, can certainly aid you. A good DUI attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or minimize the penalty. He or she can do this by analyzing:
- Whether the arresting officer had a valid reason for stopping you
- Whether your “field sobriety test” was properly and fairly administered
- Your “breath test” was administered properly by a certified officer
We hope that your DUI will not hurt your relationship with your child, and that you will continue to be a strong presence in your children’s lives. In every case, however, it is important to do what is in the best interest of the child, and we hope you act responsibly for your family’s sake.