When you have a pending Indiana family law case, especially concerning child custody and visitation, the matter can quickly become more complicated if you are charged with a crime. If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while you have a pending family case, you need an attorney with experience in both family law and criminal defense to ensure your rights remain protected.
At Hessler Law, PC, we help clients with complex legal matters, such as facing charges for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), in addition to dealing with a pending family matter. By calling attorney Sean Hessler, you will learn how a DUI might affect your Indiana family law case. He will gather the facts, apply the law, and from his vast experience, provide the counsel you need to resolve all your legal issues.
DUI and Family Law Matters – What Does the Law Say?
While there might be possible ramifications of a DUI charge on a pending divorce – the loss of a driver’s license affects income, and could possibly affect spousal support calculations – by far more serious is the potential effect on child custody and visitation. Major concerns include a parent driving while intoxicated with their child in the car, or an ongoing substance abuse problem.
Under Indiana law, you could face felony DUI charges if you had children in the car at the time of arrest. The felony charge is dependent on whether you had a previous charge of OWI, when it occurred, and if there were additional factors – such as bodily harm. The penalties upon conviction for this type of felony include prison time from six months to six years, and thousands of dollars in fines.
In addition, if you are convicted of a DUI charge, there may be restrictions upon your driver’s license. First offenses in Indiana can result in a license suspension of up to two years. You also face the possibility of jail time. For first-offense DUI convictions, you could go to jail for up to 60 days if your blood alcohol concentration was between .08 and .15 percent. If the BAC was higher than .15 percent, you could spend one year in jail. Your child’s other parent may argue that due to your license suspension and/or incarceration, you are unable to drive your son or daughter to school, activities, or appointments, and should have less parenting time.
Other family law issues that might arise from a DUI charge include allegations of substance abuse that might be used to change custody or supervised visitation. If ongoing substance abuse is alleged or suspected, Child Protective Services might open an investigation as to the welfare of your child(ren) to determine if they are a child in need of services (CHINS). Such investigations are invasive, time-consuming, and could have profound consequences.
Need Help With Your Indiana Family Law Case? Contact Us Today
Finding yourself facing a DUI charge and simultaneously dealing with a family law matter can be a difficult situation to navigate. On the one hand, you have a serious criminal matter to tackle and resolve. And on the other, you’re coping with a family case that could be affected by the consequences of the criminal charges. You may feel hopeless and distraught because you fear losing custody or having your visitation restricted because of your DUI charge. The criminal law experts at Hessler Law, PC can help. With experience in both criminal and domestic law, attorney Sean Hessler is able to help when you’re dealing with family law and criminal cases that overlap.