If you’re convicted of driving under the influence in Indianapolis, it can negatively impact a child custody battle. It doesn’t matter whether you were arrested within the city limits or outside of Indianapolis. Working with an Indianapolis DUI lawyer is the best way to protect your relationship with your child. At Hessler Law, PC, we understand this issue from both a family law and criminal defense perspective.
How Does Indiana Look at Intoxicated Driving?
In our state, driving under the influence is known as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVWI). A driver is over the legal limit with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, unless they are a commercial vehicle driver, in which case the legal limit is 0.04 percent. Police officers can stop you if they have probable cause to think that you are impaired, and because of Indiana’s implied consent laws, you must submit to chemical testing or your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If you have a prior OVWI on record, you may lose your license for two years by refusing to take a breath, blood, or urine test.
If you were stopped on suspicion of OWI with a minor in the car, you would face a felony charge. Marion County judges will certainly consider this when deciding your family law matter, whether you are a parent, grandparent, relative, or guardian of the child.
How Does a Family Court Judge Look at Custody?
Indiana family court judges will think of the child’s best interests first when deciding a family law case. To this effect, the judge will try to have the parents make decisions on custody and visitation out of court, or through mediation. The court will then approve or deny that agreement. If the parents are unable to agree, the judge will step in and make a ruling. They will look at factors such as:
- Which parent promotes a relationship between the child and other parent?
- Which parent is willing to communicate and compromise?
- What kind of lifestyle can each parent provide to the child?
- How has the child been living in the past, and would a change be harmful?
- What does the child want, if they are of age to choose?
- What kind of relationship does the child have with each parent and siblings?
- Could either parent endanger the child?
You or your lawyer will have to appear at hearings, and provide evidence of your parental fitness (and the other parent’s unfitness, if applicable). A DUI on a parent’s record can indicate poor judgment, and a current or recent DUI charge can make a judge think the child will be put in danger in the future.
How a DUI May Affect Your Case
Being convicted of OVWI may negatively affect your ability to win physical custody, since your ex may argue you drink too much to pay attention to your child, or that you may drink and drive – therefore putting your child in jeopardy.
One intoxicated driving charge is not a deal breaker. If you are willing to work together and do everything you can for your child, the judge will take notice. If you do have multiple offenses, but you received treatment for substance abuse or voluntarily joined a rehab program, it may also help.
It is difficult to be honest with yourself in an emotionally-charged atmosphere, and an Indianapolis family law attorney can provide calm, honest, and objective thinking tailored to your situation. You’ll have a fighting chance of retaining your full parental rights.
Additional Penalties for OVWI Offenses in Indiana
If convicted of a DUI in Indiana, you may face:
- Time in jail
- A hefty fine
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Loss of a professional license
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- An increase in your car insurance rates
- Difficulty obtaining housing or future employment
All of these consequences can impact the bottom line – you may no longer have the time, money, or ability to care for your child, and the court will factor that into account.
After Being Arrested, Call an Indianapolis DUI Lawyer Right Away
The sooner you have an advocate to protect you after criminal charges, the better. Family conflicts and criminal problems often arise at the same time, and many clients that attorney Sean Hessler helps are dealing with parenting struggles. By hiring Hessler Law, PC, you benefit from our experience and in-depth knowledge of the law and the local courtrooms. For a free and confidential consultation with a dedicated, contact us at (317) 886-8800 today.