A DUI could impact your child custody case, however, it does depend on when you were convicted of DUI as well as what the circumstances were at the time of your arrest.
When a child custody case is initiated, the judge overseeing the case must take into account many things including what is in the best interest of the child before deciding how custody will be awarded. For instance, some of the factors a judge will use to determine this include:
- “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child(ren) as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.”
- “The length of time the child(ren) has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.”
- “The mental and physical health of the parents.”
- “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child(ren) which is free from substance abuse.”
While most courts do try and award both parents with equal parenting rights, the judge handling the case must be sure the child is not going to be living with a parent that could potentially put his/her safety at risk. Therefore, if your DUI conviction is a recent one, the judge is definitely going to take this into consideration when creating establishing a custody order. Florida Statute §61.13 says that if “the court determines that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, it may order sole parental responsibility and make such arrangements for time-sharing as specified in the parenting plan as will best protect the child.”
Important: If you were recently charged with DUI in St. Petersburg but have not yet been convicted of the crime, you need to connect with a St. Petersburg, FL DUI lawyer who can help you understand what your rights are. In addition to this, a DUI defense attorney can also help you understand your charges and fight them which could result in them getting thrown out or reduced.
Now, if your DUI charge is from years ago, the court will likely review the case to see if there were any other crimes committed at the time of your arrest as well as what you were convicted of. The judge will also take into account what your current living circumstances are.
Other Factors that Could Impact Your Right to Custody Aside from Your DUI Charge
Aside from the actual DUI charge having an impact on your child custody order, the circumstances surrounding your arrest will also serve as a factor when the judge decides whether your DUI conviction should limit your parenting rights and/or responsibilities. For example, let’s say at the time of your arrest, you had your child traveling in the vehicle with you. If this were the case, the judge may not find it in the best interest of the child to allow them to spend half of their time with you. Some other factors that could harm your chances of being awarded custody include:
- You had a high blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level at the time of your arrest.
- You caused a drunk driving accident that may or may not have resulted in property damage and/or personal injury to another.
- You caused a drunk driving crash that resulted in the death of another.
- You have been charged and convicted of DUI in the past.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in St. Petersburg, FL the DUI attorneys at The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet may be able to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed which could help your custody case. To learn more about how a DUI lawyer can assist you during this difficult time, contact this firm at 727-480-6211.
The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet is located at:
76 4th St. N, #2214
St. Petersburg, FL 33701