A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) is serious business under any circumstances. However, when you're in the middle of a custody case, it can be disastrous.
Here's what you can expect to happen:
1. Social service agencies could get involved.
Hopefully, you were wise enough not to have your child in the car with you at the time you were arrested. However, if you did, you can probably expect the issue to attract the attention of a child protection agency.
You may not even be safe from their intrusion if your kids weren't in the car. Social workers can and do draw conclusions from a number of different sources -- including interviews with your co-parent, the kids and your relatives. If someone alleges that you have a habit of drinking around the kids, that may be enough to affect your custody rights.
2. The judge will probably consider your arrest an issue.
Judges have to keep their focus on what's in the best interests of the child. Among the factors they consider are things like any evidence that a parent has a problem with drugs or alcohol and signs that a parent could endanger their child's safety. They also look at a parent's ability to provide a stable home.
There's nothing about a DUI charge that will help your case on any of those counts. In fact, a DUI charge can set the stage for your co-parent to make a great argument for supervised visitation only.
Divorce is frustrating, and going through a custody battle is rough. However, don't set yourself up for failure by making obvious mistakes. If you're in a custody fight, your attorney can help you make your case.