A DUI can be a significant setback for a parent who wants child custody in California. A single DUI can negatively affect a parent’s right to custody of their child. It is essential to realize that the courts in California always put a child’s best interest first when deciding on cases. They look at every issue from all angles to determine if a child’s safety, health, and welfare have been compromised.
If a parent drove under the influence and was arrested for doing so, that can be a big challenge. If that parent was charged and convicted of a DUI, they might ask themselves the following question: how does a DUI affect child custody in California?
Each situation is unique, and no case is the same. If an accident, a hit-and-run, or injuries occur due to the parent driving while under the influence, speaking with a skilled Los Angeles DUI attorney is the first step in the right direction. However, if the child was in the car with the parent when they were arrested for driving under the influence, they would have to fight an uphill battle. Either way, connecting with an attorney is a smart move.
How Does a Court Determine the Best Interests of a Child?
In a California child custody case, the judge has the child’s best interests in mind. It is reasonable to ask how a court determines what is in the child’s best interests.
Above all else, a child’s health, safety, and welfare are what a judge is most concerned with when custody is at stake. Before reviewing the facts of the case, the court starts with the point of view that it is in a child’s best interest to have continuous and regular contact with both parents, not just one. But if the evidence shows that spending time with one of the parents will jeopardize their health, safety, or welfare, then that parent may lose custody of their child.
If a child’s parent is an alcoholic, this can work against them, especially if they have a track record of driving under the influence.
When Can a DUI Affect Child Custody in California?
Parents can lock horns over multiple issues, especially when child custody is on the line. For a parent’s custody of their child to be restricted or taken away, a court will require proof that a child’s best interests are not being met or are at risk. If one of the parents involved in a custody dispute is known for drinking alcohol habitually, this may be used against them.
Police reports and court documents can be included among the evidence used against a parent to partially or completely strip them of child custody in California. Information or documents from probation departments, social services, and medical or rehabilitation facilities can also be evidence. These elements can help one parent build a solid case against the other.
Chief among them is a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, which can harm a parent’s ability to maintain custody of their child.
How Much Weight Does a Court Give Evidence When Determining Child Custody in California?
Being convicted of driving under the influence does not mean that a parent’s custody case is a lost cause. Courts and judges do not treat every conviction equally. They look at the elements that contributed to the conviction to form an opinion on the matter.
Time is a key factor. If a parent was convicted of driving under the influence ten years ago, that is not the same as being convicted within the past year. Maintaining one’s sobriety for a consistent period of time can help make up for being convicted of a DUI in the past.
If it can be proven that the parent convicted for driving under the influence was convicted for doing so recently, this can be a challenge. If there is other evidence that demonstrates their abuse of alcohol, a court may strongly consider altering the current custody arrangement between the child and their parents. Suppose this evidence shows that the child was in the car with the parent while driving under the influence. In that case, the possibility of the evidence influencing the future of the child’s custody is greater.
In What Ways Can Child Custody Be Affected by a DUI?
In some circumstances, a judge can rule that a parent being convicted for driving under the influence is serious enough that their custody should be limited or that they should be stripped of it entirely. Having a court grant sole custody to one parent can be a crushing blow to the other parent. Their life has been changed forever, and not in a good way.
Other arrangements the court may consider can include supervised visitation with the parent who was convicted of driving under the influence. If the parent convicted of driving under the influence is willing to be rehabilitated and treated for their alcoholism, then a court might award them visitation rights or joint custody. In some instances, all that is required for visitation rights or joint custody is testing.
Why Should I Hire a Los Angeles DUI Attorney in California?
When faced with a DUI charge, a competent Los Angeles DUI attorney is needed. Often, the driver who is arrested for a DUI is unaware of how dangerous their situation is. A DUI is one of the most costly misdemeanors a person can receive, and it can affect childhood custody.
At Los Angeles DUI Attorney, we believe you can put your DUI behind you and move forward with your life. Getting started only requires giving us the basic details of the case. Then, we match people with one of our attorneys who offer free comprehensive case evaluations.
Being charged with a DUI is not when someone should throw in the towel and give up. Contact us today so one of our Los Angeles DUI attorneys can fight for your freedom and future.