An arrest for a DUI is scary enough, but when it can interfere with your child custody, the real fear sets in. Children are our everything and so being able to engage as a parent and spend time with our children matters quite a lot.
We take it seriously, too. That's why our Roswell and Alpharetta DUI attorneys want to make sure we defend your DUI case aggressively and strategically. But being informed is also part of the process, and here, we provide you with the basics on what you should know about DUIs and child custody issues in Roswell and Alpharetta, Georgia.
Georgia DUIs & Child Custody Overview
Your child's welfare is very important to you and the courts. If you are in the middle of a custody battle or already have a custody order but your ex-partner or ex-spouse would love the opportunity to request a modification based on a DUI, then more so than most other DUI collateral consequences, you need to tread carefully with respect to the DUI charge and criminal process.
The impact a DUI has on a child custody case can range anywhere from insignificant to significant – it all depends on the circumstances and actual conviction. A judge in your child custody case will consider:
- the DUI conviction;
- the circumstances of the DUI arrest (e.g., an accident where a serious injury or fatality occurred or there were minors in the car, either of which could have resulted in additional charges and convictions in addition to a DUI);
- your overall criminal record, if you have one aside from the DUI conviction;
- whether this DUI was an isolated event or demonstrative of a pattern (e.g., habitual DUI offender); and/or
- how long ago the DUI was; and, among other things,
- whether there are other alcohol- or drug-related incidents.
If this is your first DUI arrest, then an experienced DUI attorney will challenge the DUI charges against you using DUI defenses applicable to your case. The goal is the dismissal of the DUI charge. If that can't happen, then reduction of the charges is preferable. If it is offered, your attorney will also talk to you about the advantages or disadvantage of a plea deal. In some cases, a plea deal could be your best option, but in other cases, it could be far from it. It takes experience and insight to know the difference.
If this is your second or subsequent DUI arrest, then an experienced DUI attorney in Roswell and Alpharetta will put forth DUI defenses applicable to your case but with a more aggressive strategy. It is more important than ever to prevent a conviction because a DUI conviction with prior DUI convictions could suggest a pattern, and that could suggest to any judge overseeing your child custody matter that granting you custody may not be in the child's best interests.
Remember: judges in child custody matters have a lot of discretion when it comes to determining what is in the child's best interest. Given this knowledge, it is in your best interest to do all you can to fight the DUI charge and exhibit behavior consistent with good parenting.
Impact of a DUI Conviction on Child Custody in Roswell and Alpharetta
A DUI conviction can be damaging to your child custody case. In worst case scenarios, the impact can include:
- denial of custody;
- visitation rights that mean only limited time with your child;
- possible restrictions on transporting your child from one place to another place;
- difficulty building your relationship with your child given the limited time; and, among other things,
- emotional issues for you and/or your child.
Also, if you are convicted, there is a chance you could be sentenced to jail time. This means time away from your child throughout the course of the jail sentence unless someone is kind enough to bring your child for visitation. The latter, however, has its own downside: on the one hand you want to visit with your child, but on the other hand, jail is never a good place for a child to experience.
The Importance of a Roswell and Alpharetta DUI Attorney when You Face Child Custody Issues
The importance of retaining a competent and thoughtful Roswell and Alpharetta DUI attorney reflects the importance you place on child custody. A DUI conviction can do harm to your child custody case, whether you are currently engaged in a custody legal battle or whether you have some kind of joint custody and your ex learns of your DUI conviction and wants to use it to modify your custody order.
Keep in mind, too, that in your child custody case, opposing counsel will try to portray you as someone who prefers his or her drink over time with a child. A DUI conviction plays into this narrative. The absence of a DUI conviction, either because the charges were dismissed or you were acquitted, cannot be used against you and your character.
Finally, keep in mind that a DUI arrest results in an administrative license suspension. If your driving privileges are suspended, then even if the judge in your custody case allows you to drive your child, you may not be able to drive at all anyway. Retaining an attorney as soon after a DUI arrest is important so that you can first challenge the administrative license suspension via an ALS hearing, and then challenge the DUI charge via the DUI criminal process. Success in both saves your driving privileges in Georgia.
Contact a Roswell and Alpharetta DUI Attorney Today
We have the experience in DUI and DUI-related cases in Roswell and Alpharetta, Georgia, as well as throughout the rest of Georgia. Our knowledge of DUI law and DUI defense is varied and extensive. We understand how other collateral consequences in addition to child custody can have a direct and detrimental impact on our clients. That's why we defend you.
We know that many of you are innocent of the charges and were simply harassed by the police. We know that some of you, too, may have been legally intoxicated but deserve a second chance. We want to make sure you get that chance, both for you and your child. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to DUI cases and how we may be able to build a strong defense in your case.