Being a parent is one of the great joys for many Louisiana residents. However, criminal charges can affect your child custody rights. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you might wonder if this is the case.
How the court decides on custody
There is one standard that the court will always consider above all else. In any child custody matter, the judge will consider what’s in the child’s best interests. If you already have custody or are fighting to gain custody, the court wants to ensure that things will be safe for your child. However, if you have been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), this will factor into the judge’s decision.
If you are deemed a risk to your child’s well-being and safety, the judge might make a decision about what happens to your custody rights. They might believe you have an alcohol or drug problem and order you into rehab before awarding custody. In some cases, a judge might be more lenient with a first offense, though it’s possible for you to not get custody just yet but have visitation with your child.
Multiple DUIs and custody
If you have multiple arrests and convictions for DUI, this can seriously impact your parenting time. The court might decide that you are a danger to your child and award your former spouse or partner sole custody. Multiple DUIs send a clear message to the court that you might be an unfit parent. This is especially true if your child was ever in the vehicle with you when you were charged with DUI. This makes things even worse as you could be charged with child endangerment.
In any situation involving custody, the judge will take into consideration whether you or your former partner have been the primary caregiver for your child. If you were the primary parent and you had only a single DUI, the judge might forgive it. Multiple DUIs could complicate matters.
A DUI charge doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose custody of your child. However, staying sober is in the best interests of both you and your child.