Does Having a DUI Affect Child Custody: Yes for 5 Reasons

If you are a parent who has been convicted of a DUI, you may wonder, “does having a DUI affect child custody case?“. Yes, it does. There are five specific ways in which a DUI conviction can impact child custody proceedings.

In this blog post, I will discuss those five ways in detail. If you are facing a custody battle and have a DUI conviction on your record, you need to understand how that conviction could impact the outcome of your case.

What does it mean by DUI conviction?

A DUI conviction is a criminal conviction that results from being found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In most states, a DUI is classified as a misdemeanour offence.

However, in some states, a DUI can be classified as a felony offence if the driver has multiple prior DUI convictions or caused an accident resulting in serious injuries or death.

Generally speaking, a DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record for life. However, in some states, you may be able to have your DUI conviction sealed or expunged from your record after a certain period has passed.

does having a dui affect child custody

Does Having a DUI Affect Child Custody: Yes, for 5 Reasons

#1. It shows that you are irresponsible:

When a judge decides on child custody, they consider the parent’s behaviour and whether they can provide a safe and stable environment for the child.

A DUI conviction shows that you have made an irresponsible decision to operate a vehicle while under the influence, leading the judge to question your ability to make responsible decisions for your child’s well-being.

Moreover, this can be used against you in a child custody case, as the court may believe that you cannot take care of your child if you cannot even care for yourself.

#2. It shows that you are a risk to your child:

A DUI conviction also shows that you are a risk to your child. Driving while under the influence increases the chances of getting into a car accident, which can result in severe injury or even death for both you and your child.

In addition, if you are convicted of a DUI and lose your license or have restricted driving privileges, it may affect your ability to provide transportation for your child and attend their necessary appointments and activities.

And, if the court believes that you are a danger to your child, they may decide to award custody to the other parent.

#3. It can affect your job:

A DUI conviction can also affect your job, which is another factor the court considers in child custody proceedings. Especially if you have a job that requires you to drive, a DUI conviction can lead to you losing your job. This can then affect your financial ability to provide for your child, which can be used against you in a child custody case.

In addition, if you have a professional license, such as a teacher or doctor, a DUI conviction may lead to suspension or revocation of that license. This can affect your job stability and ability to provide for your child’s needs.

#4. It can affect your relationship with your child:

Another impact of a DUI on child custody is that it hurts your relationship with your child. Your child may feel embarrassed or ashamed about the situation, leading to tension and strain in your relationship.

This can also be used against you in a child custody case, as the court may believe awarding custody to the other parent would be better for the child’s emotional well-being.

#5. It can affect your ability to get bonding time with your child:

Finally, a DUI conviction can also affect your ability to get bonding time with your child. This is because jail time is often a requirement for those convicted of DUI. If you are in jail, you will not be able to spend time with your child, which can negatively impact your relationship with them.

In addition, if you are required to attend alcohol education classes or participate in a rehabilitation program as part of your sentence, it can take time away from your ability to spend with your child and bond with them.

And in child custody proceedings, the court will also consider how much time each parent spends with the child and how well they bond with them.

Can a DUI affect child custody? Do you need to know more about it? Watch the below video to learn the details:

FAQs on Does Having a DUI Affect Child Custody

How to prove alcoholism in custody cases?

In many custody cases, one parent will try to prove that the other is an alcoholic to gain a more favourable outcome. While this may seem like a difficult task, there are actually a few pretty simple ways to go about it.

First, look for patterns of behaviour that are typically associated with alcoholism. This includes missed work or parenting obligations, financial problems, and relationship difficulties.

Additionally, there may be evidence of alcohol abuse, such as empty or prescription medication bottles containing alcohol.

Finally, it’s also helpful to obtain testimony from witnesses who have seen the parent drinking excessively or acting erratically while under the influence.

By gathering this type of evidence, it will be much easier to prove that the other parent is an alcoholic and should not have full custody of the child.

Can a DUI charge affect a child custody agreement?

In the eyes of the law, driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe offence. If you are convicted of DUI, you can expect to face several penalties, including fines, jail time, and losing your driver’s license. Not having a valid license may affect the child custody case.

But many people don’t realise that a DUI conviction can also significantly impact child custody arrangements.

If one parent is convicted of DUI, the court may limit that parent’s visitation rights or require them to submit to regular drug testing. Sometimes, a DUI conviction can even be used as grounds for terminating parental rights altogether.

So if you are facing a DUI charge, understand how it could affect your child custody agreement. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.

Can a DUI affect child custody decisions in Virginia?

Any DUI conviction can have significant consequences, but those consequences may be especially severe for parents who are fighting for custody of their children.

In Virginia, a DUI is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanour, which carries a potential sentence of up to 12 months in jail. A judge may also order installing an ignition interlock device and impose a driver’s license suspension.

However, the impact of a DUI on child custody proceedings will ultimately depend on the circumstances of the case. A DUI may give the other parent grounds to seek full custody if the defendant is the custodial parent.

If the defendant is a non-custodial parent, a DUI may lead to a loss of visitation rights. In either case, consult an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights.

How long can a DUI case stay open?

Depending on the state, a DUI case can stay open for years. Typically, however, cases are closed within two to three years. If a person is arrested for DUI and there is no accident or injuries involved, the case will likely be closed sooner than if there was an accident with injuries.

Generally, the government has five years to file charges against a person for most crimes. However, this timeframe may be extended if the individual leaves the state or if new evidence emerges.

With DUIs, prosecutors often have longer to file charges because alcohol can stay in a person’s system for days or weeks after the initial offence. For this reason, a DUI case can stay open for several years.

Can a DUI be dismissed?

A DUI can be dismissed in many cases if the defendant completes a court-approved alcohol education program. The specifics vary from state to state, but generally, the program must be completed within a specific time frame, and the defendant must pay a fee.

The defendant may also be required to perform community service in some states. If the DUI is not dismissed, the consequences can be significant. The defendant may face jail time, a fine, or the loss of their driver’s license. In some states, a DUI is considered a felony offence.

As a result, consulting with an attorney is essential to understand your state’s specific laws and options for dismissal.

Can you lose custody of your child due to 2nd DUI?

In most states, a second DUI offence within a specific time frame will result in enhanced penalties. These can include longer jail sentences, higher fines, and the revocation of your driver’s license.

In some states, a second DUI offence can also lead to the loss of child custody. If you are convicted of DUI, and it is determined that your child was in the car at the time, you could be considered a danger to your child’s welfare and lose custody rights.

In addition, a second DUI conviction could be used as evidence against you in a custody battle if you have a history of substance abuse or violence. While every case is different, a second DUI offence can put your custody rights at risk.


Hopefully, you understand having a DUI does affect child custody proceedings as it can show the court that you are irresponsible, a risk to your child, and may impact your ability to provide for and bond with your child.

So take responsibility for your actions and seek help if necessary to have a positive outcome in a child custody case.

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