When parents are going through a divorce that involves a battle for the custody of children, there are considerations when DUI charges are pending or were present in the past. California courts are concerned with the safety, well-being and proper care of the children. Having physical custody of a child involves many responsibilities. Ultimately, the goal of the court system is to place children in a home that offers optimum parenting skills.
If you are trying to obtain legal custody and not physical custody, a DUI may still be a serious consideration. Decisions about a child’s health, education and many other details of their daily life may be better handled by the parent that shows responsibility through their own actions.
What Else May a DUI Charge Imply?
Our Walnut Creek DUI lawyer in California suggests that the court will want to know your background as a parent. If you have a current DUI charge, is it because you are a partier? If so, will parenting take a backseat to the lure of your social life? Was the child present in the car when you were stopped for the violation? Even if you had just dropped off your child or were just arriving to pick up her up, that is a serious situation and concern for the court when making custody decisions.
Current DUI Charge
The wisest decision you can make when faced with a DUI charge while a custody hearing is in progress, is to get an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with DUI cases. If you live in Northern California, contacting an attorney local to the area is essential to helping you achieve a favorable outcome. In fact, if this DUI is your first offense, a California court may allow a plea bargain that will reduce the charge so that no DUI will be entered on the records.
While the DUI charge may enter into the decision about custody, facing the charge and making an effort to resolve the issue will also have an impact, and hopefully, a positive one. Calling an attorney as early as possible after a DUI arrest is important because he or she can counsel you in many ways if they are involved in the case from the beginning. You could even choose a lawyer who is experienced in both DUI and child custody issues.
Past DUI Charges
Some other things to think about if you have past DUI charges on you record are: How did you handle those? Did you have more than one? Was it determined that you had a drinking problem? If so, did you complete a program to conquer the addiction and did that result in no additional DUI charges? A continuing history of DUIs is extremely detrimental to a custody hearing.
Another issue that may have adverse effects on your child custody case is if the DUI charge was coupled with other charges. Did the DUI involve an accident? Were any criminal charges filed? Were people hurt or was property damaged? All of these factors will be considered in your ability to care for your children.
Finding the Best DUI Attorney
As a parent facing a custody battle and a DUI issue, you will undoubtedly need the best attorney you can afford. Sharing custody of your children, at least part of the time, is a big incentive to get an attorney on your side as soon as the DUI charge is filed. A qualified legal team will be instrumental in helping you by offering the best possible options and alternatives in your specific situation. Knowing all your options and what actions you need to take is vital to the success of both your DUI charge and your custody hearing.
Karla M. Somers has worked as a child advocate and family mediator for divorce and custody cases in the state of New York. She is a contributing writer for the Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson, a dedicated Walnut Creek DUI lawyer team who is passionate about DUI defense and parental rights cases. They can answer your questions and help you put legal matters behind you.