You’re driving home from an office party when you get pulled over. The officer says you were swerving out of your lane. You don’t remember doing it, but they still ask you to do some field sobriety tests. When you fail one, they give you a breath test. You’re slightly over the legal limit.
At this point, your simple office gathering, designed to boost morale among your employees, has caused more trouble than it was worth. You’re potentially facing fines, jail time, and the loss of your driver’s license. You know that DUIs are fairly common, but that doesn’t make it any easier to face.
However, you start wondering if this is going to impact your life in any other way. You have custody of your kids, which you share with your ex. Could you potentially lose them over the DUI charges?
If the children were in the car, CPS may become involved
In this example, it’s unlikely that you would lose your children. The only issue would be if there was a pattern of behavior and your ex petitioned the court for a custody modification. If you were repeatedly driving while intoxicated, for instance, they may claim that being with you isn’t safe for the children or in their best interests. It’s far more difficult to make that claim after a single mistake, however.
That said, Child Protective Services often gets involved when the kids are in the car during a DUI arrest. This can be classified as child endangerment. That allegation is especially likely if you caused an accident, but it could still be made after an arrest. The kids were not hurt, but CPS may claim you still put them in danger.
If it is determined that you’re unfit to provide a safe living environment for the kids, then CPS may consider removing them from your custody. Again, though, patterns of behavior are most important. It is not common for parents to lose their rights after one DUI charge.
Moving through the legal process
Even so, you can see how much may be at stake after an arrest. That’s why it is so important for you to know all that you can about your legal options as this process moves forward.