DUI and Child Custody

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  • The Law Offices of Ryan S. Dougay
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  • August 28, 2018

DUI and Child Custody

It is common knowledge that if you drive while under the influence, you could face serious consequences. Even if it is your first mistake, receiving a DUI charge can have lasting impacts on your life, so it is important to contact a DWI lawyer Fairfax, VA residents rely on. One penalty that many people do not realize is how driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can affect a child custody case. If a parent is pulled over while driving under the influence while having a child in their car, the court will consider that parent a very high risk to the child’s well being and safety. If this is the parent’s first time being arrested, the next step of the DUI case will be to more than likely have a social worker become involved in their and their child’s life. Not only will the court evaluate the parent’s new criminal DUI charge, but they will also likely examine the parent’s custody of the child. It is not uncommon for a parent to have their custodial rights revoked by the court if they have received a recent driving under the influence charge.

DUI Without Child in the Car

A DUI charge can even affect a parent’s right if their child was not in the car with them at the time of their arrest. Essentially the court could believe that just because the child was not in the car at this time, the court could have reason to believe that the parent who was drinking and driving could have done so with their children inside of the car in the past.

Usually a social worker will be appointed to the child custody case and they will examine the details by:

  • Interviewing both the arrested parent and their ex-spouse
  • Interview the children and any other family members in the house
  • Investigate the arrested parent’s daily routine, the children’s normal schedule, and other habits of the household
  • Thoroughly search the residence and car for any drugs or alcohol

The social worker could also search through the home to look for drugs and alcohol. In addition to these searches, they are also able to speak with the children at school, go to the arrested parent’s household unannounced, and perform a number of other checks to find any indicator that the well-being or safety of the children are at risk. Even if the children are not present in the car at the time of the DUI arrest, a parent being arrested for a DUI can prompt this investigation process.

Further Child Custody Issues with a DUI Charge

If a parent in a child custody case is arrested for a DUI charge, this charge will most likely be used against them if there is ever a dispute over a child custody matter. A DUI charge is a red flag for the courts and can be viewed as a serious risk to the children. When the court is trying to decide what the best interest of the children is, a parent having a DUI charge can damage their case with child custody.  



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal defense and DUI charges.