A DUI conviction can significantly harm your fight for child custody rights. As often happens, a person can get a DUI charge while in the midst of a divorce. This can have a major impact on the court's determination of where a child gets to live, and both the legal and physical custody rights of the parents over the children.
It is easy to feel like there is no hope when this happens, but there are ways to defend your DUI case and protect your rights. With the help of an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney, you can set forth a defense that can protect you from criminal charges as well as have a positive impact on your child custody case.
Impacts of a DUI on Your Child Custody Case in Georgia
A DUI does not necessarily mean that you will lose custody of your children in a custody battle with your soon to be ex-spouse. While a judge will consider a DUI conviction in making his or her determination, ultimately, an arrest or even conviction is not the only thing he or she considers. The judge will consider your entire past behavior, including all of the good.
A DUI should not take your kids away from you. There are ways to demonstrate to the judge that child custody still rests appropriately with you. You can do this by having an experienced Georgia DUI attorney defend your criminal case and manage it in a way that can better influence your custody case.
In determining child custody, a Georgia judge may consider:
- the circumstances of the DUI arrest and conviction
- whether serious injury or harm occurred as a result of the DUI
- your overall criminal record (not just DUI's)
- whether there is a pattern of intoxicated conduct
- whether there is evidence of alcoholism
- how long ago the DUI was in relation to the current custody case
While there is more the judge can consider, these factors often weigh heavily on his or her determination of custody rights.
Transportation of Children Following Conviction
With most DUI convictions comes a suspension of your driver's license for a period of time. During this time, it will be difficult to transport your children in your vehicle. Even if you have joint custody of your children, or could get it, the lack of transportation could greatly impact your ability to care for your children.
Transportation of children to and from school, medical appointments, extra-curricular activities, and more is a factor that a judge will consider when making custody determinations. These custody determinations can have a serious impact on your life, and the lives of your children.
Number of Convictions
One of the major indicators a judge will look at in terms of your DUI conviction is the number of DUI convictions you have in your past. If this is your first, the situation looks a lot better for a custody hearing that if it is your third DUI. If you have no or few prior DUI convictions, you can argue that this is an isolated occurrence, and the health and welfare of your children are not affected.
The more convictions you have, the more difficult it may be to argue that the judge should not consider the DUI convictions at the custody determination hearing. However, there are options to help show the court that despite the previous DUI convictions, you are taking steps to ensure that they are not repeated.
DUI with Children in the Car
When a driver is arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, and there are children in the car, the impacts on child custody take a major step in the wrong direction. This is true of any kids in the car, but especially the kids at issue in the custody battle.
When kids are in the car during a driver's intoxication, the court will not look kindly upon it. It is crucial to fight any charges of DUI with children in the car. Otherwise, that conviction could haunt you in your custody case for many years to come.
If convicted of a Georgia DUI, you could face time in jail. If you are in jail, you cannot have custody of your children. When this occurs, the custody case is pretty much decided for you, a position in which you do not want to find yourself.
You may be at the mercy of others to bring your children to see you in jail if anyone will. The best option here is to fight your underlying DUI charges in order to avoid jail time and avoid losing time with your children.
Importance of an Atlanta DUI Attorney in Your Child Custody Case
A knowledgeable and competent Atlanta DUI attorney can defend your criminal case, and keep your child custody issues in mind. There are defenses that can be raised to a DUI charge, and when these charges occur you should fight to make sure that not only do you avoid criminal charges, but also protect your right to see your children.
This is true whether you are currently in the middle of a custody battle, or you have joint custody but could lose it due to jail time or your criminal conviction. Even a temporary interruption of your child custody rights could do irreparable harm to your relationship with your children. An experienced DUI attorney understands this and will do everything possible to avoid these negative consequences.
Consult an Experienced Atlanta DUI Attorney
If you are facing a DUI charge and a conviction could affect custody of your children, it is crucial that you fight hard and fight smart against these charges. You need a determined attorney in your corner to take your interests, and the interests of your children, into consideration at every step of your criminal case.