Child visitation and custody arrangements are hard enough, but add a DUI charge to the mix, and you might feel like giving up. However, all isn't necessarily lost if you've been charged with DUI. Consider the following questions that might affect a judge's final decision.
How recent was the DUI charge?
Make no mistake, having a DUI charge on your legal record won't make you look like the sterling example of a responsible, capable parent. With that said, the courts often take into account how recent your DUI charge was. There's definitely a difference in perception between a DUI that you were convicted of within the last month, the last year, or many years ago. A DUI lawyer can look at all of the paperwork associated with your conviction and offer you more insight and guidance. Now is definitely the time to include any paperwork that speaks of your attempts at rehabilitation. These include medical records, substance abuse rehab records, and psychotherapy records. A few character reference letters from 12-step sponsors, employers, or close friends might also work in your favor.
Will you transport your children to and from their primary home?
Another factor that would impact any child visitation and custody arrangements would be transportation. Specifically, a judge would want to know how you plan on transporting your children while they're in your care. Do you plan on commuting the kids back and forth between their primary residence and yours? Do you plan on taking the kids on planned outings that involve you driving a vehicle? A judge's primary concern is that your kids are going to be safe while you drive a vehicle. Your DUI lawyer can help to forecast a strategy that positions you as a repentant, responsible parent who can safely transport their children while driving.
Are you about to serve time in prison?
Depending upon the state you live in, how many times you've been convicted of DUI, and the circumstances that took place while you were being charged, you could be facing time in prison. If you're about to go to prison, then chances are great that you're not going to be awarded custody. You could even temporarily lose visitation rights. Your attorney will need to research the local DUI law to let you know what you can expect. If you've served time in prison in the past due to your DUI conviction, then your chances at visitation and custody will be determined by the judge in accordance with how the DUI law would prescribe handling a previous conviction. Again, this will probably be determined by how far in the past this occurred.
To what degree are you using or abusing substances?
Are you currently a substance abuser? Did you have a problem in the past that required a stay in a rehab center? Or did you have a one-time incident of driving under the influence of a prescribed medication? All of these play a huge role in whether or not you can be trusted with visitation or custody.
For more information, contact a local DUI lawyer to learn more.