If you are convicted of DWI in North Carolina, you could face harsh penalties, such as a jail sentence, large fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. In addition, you will have a permanent criminal record that can have long-term consequences on your life. If you are in custody dispute over your children, a DWI conviction could also affect the custody of your children.
How Your DWI May Impact on Your Child Custody Case
When determining custody of minor children in a divorce or other custody hearing, the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the children. A DWI arrest or conviction will not mean that you will automatically lose your custody battle or be denied custody.
However, the judge will examine the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest in deciding custody. He may appoint a social worker to visit your home, interview your children and spouse, and report back to him. Some factors a judge could consider in making his decision include:
- Length of time since your DWI conviction
- Results of your blood alcohol contents (BAC) tests and how much higher they were than 0.08 percent
- Whether you completed a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
- Whether this is a first or subsequent DWI charge or conviction
- What types of drugs you were taking if you were charged with driving while impaired due to drugs
- Whether any children or other minors were in your vehicle when you were arrested
- Whether you caused an accident that resulted in injuries or death when arrested for DWI
- Any other criminal charges associated with your DWI arrest
- Your criminal record
- Any mitigating or aggravating factors
How a DWI Can Affect Child Visitation
A judge could consider the factors listed above in deciding the right to visitation of your children if you are not awarded custody. In addition, you will need to show how your children will be transported if you are granted visitation while your driver’s license is suspended.
Given the potential long-term consequences of a DWI conviction, you cannot afford not to retain an experienced DWI lawyer in Charlotte to fight the charges you face. Even if you consumed alcohol before driving, you may have strong defenses that can help you to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our Charlotte office today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to learn how we can help defend you.