As most people are aware, even a first driving under the influence (DUI) offense can result in severe consequences under the strict new laws in every state. However one of the less commonly known penalties of what a drinking or drugged driving conviction could bring into your life, is regarding how it will affect a child custody case. If a parent is caught driving under the influence of of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle, that parent will be considered by the court to be at high risk for a child’s safety and well being.
Even if this is a 1st-time arrest, what is going to happen for a first offense DUI or DWI situation next, is that a social worker is very likely to become involved in your life and examine both the child custody and recent criminal DUI offense case. It is not uncommon for the court to revoke custody of the parent who gets convicted of a new driving under the influence charge.
The family law court could get involved, even when a child was not in the vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest.
Even in scenarios during a DUI or DWI arrest when there was no child in the vehicle at the time, it still can lead to the family law court intervening. They could review the events and case further, to later conclude that even though the parent who was arrested for drunk driving did not have any children in the car on that particular occasion, they may have reason to believe the charged parent did so with kids inside the vehicle in the past.
A social worker who is appointed to the child custody case can usually examine details further by:
- Conducting an interview with you and your ex-spouse.
- Having another interview with the children or other family members in the house.
- 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.
- 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.
The court-appointed social worker for a child custody case might also search through cabinets for wine or beer bottles. They can even do a surprise visit at your child’s school for a short session to ask them some additional questions, show up at your residence unannounced for a visit, and a variety of other ways to check for indications that puts the safety or well-being of any children at cause for concern. In many custody cases, a parent getting DUI charge is what can start this investigation process, even when a child is not present kids in the car at the time of being arrested.
Fighting to resolve this in regards to custody in family court is not an easy thing to accomplish with drug or alcohol arrest related cases. The family law courts in each state view drug and alcohol abuse as a matter which is very often an extremely difficult issue to get under control, and as a problematic pattern which could relapse in the future at any point.
Additionally, the way how substance treatment sessions commonly have people admit to everyone else “I am an alcoholic” or have a problem with drugs, it does pose some potential with resulting in more problems later on. This is because after a parent has mentioned their drug or alcohol problem to several other people, the parent can be stigmatized as an alcoholic or drug addict. Therefore it is a possible risk factor which could cause a parent to be prejudged with predetermined bias, or viewed with suspicion by a case or social worker doing the investigating after a first DUI arrest.
Further Child Custody and Family Law Issues After a DUI Charge
When a parent in a child custody case is later arrested for a DUI or DWI offense, this charge is very likely be used against that parent if they ever need to dispute a custody matter or want to request more access with their children in family court. Another parent being accused of drug or alcohol issues is not at all uncommon when fighting a child custody case.
However a parent getting a charged with driving under the influence could be viewed by the court as valid proof that justifies an earlier substance abuse allegation as truthful, which the court may see as being a serious risk factor to the children. When the court is determining the best interest of who the children are best primarily living with, a parent getting a DUI arrest can severely damage a custody case.
There are additional consequences that can happen as well upon a DUI offense conviction. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) believes that a parent caught drinking and driving with a child in the vehicle is a form of child abuse. As a result, there are currently 46 states in the country which now have extra mandatory penalties for parents who get convicted or plead guilty to drunk or drugged driving with children under the age of 15 in the car.