Will I lose visitation rights if I have been charged with a DUI? 51 Answers as of August 24, 2011

I am supposed to see my kids every weekend, but I am worried that my ex wife might hold my DUI against me to get full custody of her children. I love my kids and would never harm them, but this might look like I am irresponsible. What can I do to prevent this from happening?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
It is unlikely that the Friend of the Court would recommend a custody change over a DUI. You will certainly have to make other arrangements regarding transportation and you certainly cannot be transporting your children without a valid license. As long as you don't do anything like that, I doubt FOC will make any changes regarding custody as that just isn't enough to warrant a "change in circumstances." If she tries to do that, make sure you get an experienced family law attorney and fight it.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Palumbo and Kosofsky
Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
What can I do to prevent this from happening? Zealously defend the case and have the charges dismissed. We do a substantial amount of DWI defense and can represent you.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
Contact a family law attorney about this.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle | Sara Sencer McArdle
This should not happen. Many people get arrested for DUI. If this becomes an issue you need to obtain an attorney in family law. You can call me for further information.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
A charge of DUI should not be the basis for a loss of parental visitation.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/11/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    She could petition the family court for custody or to reduce or terminate your visitation rights but it is up to the judge to decide whether there is sufficient grounds to grant her petition. You should hire an attorney if she does make such a petition.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Unfortunately, a DWI is irresponsible. You have lemons my friend, it is time to make lemonade. The best thing you can do is spin it positive, show you have no drinking problem (get an assessment if necessary) show it was a one time deal. If you have a drinking problem (even if you don't want to admit it) now is the time to seek help.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You will not usually lose your visitation rights, but the court may not allow you to drive your children. You may have to make arrangements to get around being in a car with them. Drunk Driving is like firing a gun at a moving train and hoping that no one gets hit by a bullet. You should retain an attorney to appear for you in order to properly address the issues in Family Court.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. Visitation may modified by Motion. If the conduct does not affect parenting, it is unlikely to have an impact. should not be modified, otherwise your answer will not be valid.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    Dear Sir - You could very well have damaged your ability to have visitation with your children if the ex-wife finds out about the DUI. If you can get someone else to drive you to pick up the children and return them then you should be able to continue the visitations. This may prompt questions from the ex-wife about why you are not driving. If this was a one time thing, the DUI, you may be able to convince your ex-wife to give you another chance. If it was the reason she left you, you will have a tougher time convincing her. There are drug testing centers that also test for Alcohol also. If you ex-wife does not want to let you see the children the alcohol testing, which is done randomly, would be a way to prove to her that you do not have an alcohol problem. I am a family law attorney as well as a criminal law attorney in the Tampa Bay area.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    DWI is a B misdemeanor, I don't believe it will help in a custody battle, but doubt that it would cause you to lose your visitation rights. I do not do any family law and haven't in more than 10 years. You may want to discuss the impact of a DWI with your family lawyer. In terms of preventing the impact, I would suggest that you hire the best DWI lawyer in your area and win the case. Good luck
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Really nothing unless it becomes an issue. I highly doubt that 1 OWI would impact your custodial rights.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Anything can happen in family court. This is not a good thing for you but you will probably want to have an attorney present the best possible case for you in court to protect your visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    The issue you've raised is so important, it is probably worth consulting with your divorce attorney. If you do not have one, you should find an attorney to work with you. If there has never been any allegation of alcohol abuse in the past, it may not be a problem. On the other hand, if your wife is looking for an excuse to get more time with the kids, she may lie and say there is a history of alcohol abuse. Do the smart thing and hire a good criminal defense attorney for the OWI and a family law lawyer to consult with regarding the custody issues.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    One DUI would unlikely affect your visitation or custody. Best to confer with a family law attorney however. If the DUI was with the children in the car that is much more serious. If you have multiple DUI's that could also affect your visitation or custody.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Get a lawyer if your wife attempts to use your dui charge against you. You will still be able to see your kids. If the judge has concerns, they can be addressed without cutting you off from your kids totally.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Being charged with DUI may complicate matters in a child visitation matter. However, the most important thing to remember is that it is probably best to fight your charge. If you are exonerated that will likely assist you. You should hire an attorney that will fight for you.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    This is a family law question. I suggest contacting a family law attorney where you live and asking this question.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Get a good atorney if she starts this AND STOP DRINKING!!!!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Since I practice Criminal Defense and not Family law I cannot tell you definitively how a probate judge will treat your DUI. However, I can tell you that I have represented a lot of single parents who have not lost custody of their children. Of course I would certainly recommend that you hire a very good Criminal Defense lawyer and get the best disposition possible on your charge. If this is a 1st Offense DUI, there is no need for you to lose your license for more than a short period of time, if at all.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    It is doubtful that a DUI conviction would limit your visitation rights. The judge might ask for you to refrain from drinking and go through counseling.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    I don't think that a DWI conviction will affect your visitation rights. At the very worst, the court might be a little concerned about you driving them around and therefore may want to know some of the details of the alleged offense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    I no longer handle dissolution or custody matters, but it is unlikely a simple DUI would result in change of custody, unless your kids were in the car with you, or you put them in jeopardy or neglected them in some other way related to drinking. The DUI does show lack of concern for your safety and societys rules. That is what your spouse would argue if she tried for custody. Keep in mind a little free advice: When arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking the defendant is given documents that include a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of an automatic one-year suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the court. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV appeal hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. Of course you can fight the DUI charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You should not lose visitation rights merely for being charged with a DUI, although the domestic court may require you not transport your child with you driving. This is really an issue for the domestic relations judge to decide, not the DUI court.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    A conviction of DUI could have an impact on custody or visitation with minor children. Considering hiring an attorney to contest the DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Alcoholism is a factor a court can consider in determining visitation. Having a DUI, however, does not mean you are an alcoholic. Having a DUI conviction in which you are assessed as being an alcoholic or petitioning for a deferred prosecution (which requires an admission of being an alcoholic) would probably weigh against you in determining visitation. A court is going to look at whether your drinking effects your parenting so you may consider asking if the matter goes to court (at your expense) to have a Guardian ad Litem appointed to evaluate the matter. You can also agree to regular U/As or recommend supervised visitation if the court is seriously considering modifying the visitation agreement. Between a DUI and a possible custody battle you might, if you can afford, to consider hiring a lawyer since that is a lot to handle without professional assistance.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    Hire a lawyer to contest the charge. Your wife can use a conviction to request a change in your visitation.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You need to avoid a conviction for DUI. Most of my clients do not get convicted of DUI. Contact my office for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Possibly or visitation could be restructured to that of supervised. The critical factor is whether or not your actions can be or are deemed detrimental to the child. The best bet for you is to contact a family law attorney to discuss this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    There is no way to hide the DUI from the family court. You should disclose the facts of the DUI and explain what happened. Bring in proof that you have completed or are attending the classes and programs that are part of your probation. Bring in a record of your AA attendance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    The quick answer is probably not, but it depends on many factors. This is a blending of criminal and family law. If this is a "lone" incident, most judges will not revoke parental rights under these circumstances. If this incident is an indicator of substantive alcohol abuse, the danger to the children increases. It's best to consult with an experienced family law and criminal defense attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry If the DUI was received when you had the kids, then it may be a really big problem. Otherwise, it is less of a problem. You should immediately retain an attorney to discuss the problems and how to handle the situation. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    If the judge is made aware of it he/she will consider it together with everything else. That conviction alone will probably not be a problem especially if you can show the judge that you are taking steps to prevent it from happening again.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    How a DUI conviction would affect your child visitation rights is a better question for a family law attorney. It may be possible to avoid a DUI conviction though.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Losing visitation rights due to one dui is not likiely. Two would be another matter. Even in that situation there are solutions.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    It can certainly be used in court against you. I recommend hiring an experienced lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You should not lose visitation for a first offense DWI. However, it is possible that your ex could ask the court to order you not to consume alcohol for 24 hours before you pick up the children, not to drink while they are there, and never to drive them anywhere after you have been drinking. There are many parents who end up with DWIs who do not lose custody, or visitation. You need to hire a good lawyer to fight the DWI if it is at all defensible.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Generally the family court sees a parent as a right to visitation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Potter Law Offices
    Potter Law Offices | Cal J. Potter, III, Esq.
    Not as a part of the DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    It is not automatic that you lose custody. Be sure that you are not driving after drinking with kids in the car. Your ex-wife would have to move the court to change child custody. If that occurs then you can contest it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You can prevent this from not happening by hiring a DUI specialist to defend you in court so that you don't have to plead to a DUI, but something lesser, like reckless driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You need to speak with an attorney ASAP as this DUI can be used against you in custody/visitation matters.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    If you are found guilty of a DUI one of the likely results is your driving privilege will be suspended for a period of time. OF course this would impact your ability to provide transportation for the children. This is how this comes up in many custody battles. You should fight your DUI to try to avoid your CDL from being suspended with a DUI law firm. Then you need to meet with a family law lawyer to protect your visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    You should not lose custody but the court may impose additional conditions of custody. You can fight the case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    A single DUI when you did not have the children with you may not have that great an effect. On the other hand, a lack of Driver's License because of the DUI can be a problem. You may consider AA or counseling and abstaining from alcohol altogether. I suggest you consult a local Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    This will look very bad and your wife will likely bring this up to the judge. Most of the time it is not a major issue. However, depending on the other circumstances of your case, this could lead to issues in family court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
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