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January 17, 2022

Can a DUI In Nevada Affect Child Custody?

DUI have a negative effect on child custody, however, this is not always a deal-breaker. Here's what you can do about it.

It wasn’t uncommon in the 1970s and ‘80s to see highway culverts littered with empty beer cans, but today, things have changed in a dramatic way.

The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% as the threshold to being considered “impaired” on the roadways is common across 49 states, while Utah has lowered it to .05%. Drunk or buzzed driving is no longer tolerated, and the criminal justice system has ensnared many good people who made a bad decision to get behind the wheel after drinking. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be costly and time-consuming to move beyond, and if you have custody of a child, the ramifications can be much worse. It requires a DUI lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the system to help.

Recap of DUI In Nevada and Its Punishment

Before we look at the question of can a DUI affect child custody, let’s look at what it is and the penalties you might face if you’re charged with it and the assorted fines, fees, and other charges you’ll have to pay. Penalties in Nevada vary depending on several factors, such as if you have prior convictions. In general, what’s called the “look back” period to determine whether a DUI is a repeat conviction is seven years.

A first offense in Nevada is a mandatory two days in jail or 48-96 hours of community service (up to 180 days maximum jail time), a second offense is mandatory 10 days in jail or home confinement, and a third is one to six years in prison. Fines, meanwhile, can be quite steep, from a $400 minimum up to $5,000 depending on the number of offenses, not to mention time lost on your job or during community service, while license revocation begins at 185 days and runs up to three years for a third offense. You may also be subject to an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) of 185 days if your BAC is less than .18% or up to three years for a higher BAC or repeat offenses. The IID is another expense you will have to pay if convicted of a DUI.

An additional consideration is all the extra costs you might incur. For example, alcohol awareness and traffic safety classes are around $150, victim impact panel attendance is $40, and a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. You’re also looking at sentencing fees of between $100-$250, probation fees of $200-$1,200, and your automobile insurance increasing by approximately 80 percent on average, which can carry over for several years. Of course, this isn’t even taking into consideration your lifetime mental health cost if someone is injured or killed due to negligent driving.

Now let’s take a closer look at how a DUI affects child custody and why it’s essential to hire the right DUI attorney.

How a DUI May Affect Your Child Custody Agreement

A DUI can be extremely detrimental to a child custody case. When making a ruling, judges always consider which parent will provide a safe, stable upbringing for the child in question. They consider each parent’s financial situation, relationship to the child(ren), and most importantly, criminal backgrounds. While a DUI in Nevada doesn’t necessarily guarantee the loss of child custody or visitation rights, it’s a major factor the judge will consider when ruling on a child custody case. Another important factor is whether the child was present at the time of the crime.

If you’re charged with or convicted of a DUI, the judge will carefully review the charges against you and determine whether the behavior was reckless and thus has a negative impact on the child. This will not only affect custody but could also determine how much time you can spend in visitation with the child.

How a DUI May Affect Your Current Child Custody Case

If you received a DUI, it could very much adversely affect your current child custody case, particularly if the child was present during the arrest. If you were arrested without the child being present, there’s a reasonable chance this won’t be a big factor in the judge’s decision, but otherwise, it can be considered irresponsible, reckless behavior and an indicator of poor judgment, which will most definitely have a negative effect on the ruling.

A main part of the judge’s job in a custody hearing is determining what’s in the child’s best interests. A DUI could give the court all the necessary evidence to reduce or eliminate your custody rights in the case. That’s why if you’re a parent involved in a child custody case, obtaining a proven, trusted DUI attorney in Henderson is so essential when you’ve been charged with a DUI.

Will Your Child Custody Agreement Change If Your Ex Gets a DUI?

If the other parent of a child is charged and convicted of DUI, this may change the status of your present request from joint to primary or sole custody. Even in the case where the custody has been resolved already, you may have the option to request that it be modified if a DUI is involved.

Any parent with previous DUI charges will most likely have it brought up in a child custody hearing, and that parent must prove they have no addiction that could post a threat to the child’s safety. Obviously, multiple DUI convictions will be considered evidence of an addiction that does threaten the safety of the child, and this may lead to the other parent securing the child’s custody.

If you’re wondering, can a DUI affect child custody, the answer is yes, but it’s not always a deal-breaker. While it’s sure to have a negative impact on a custody case, even for a first offense, it’s not a guarantee since other factors are also taken into consideration by the judge.

Protect Your Rights with a DUI Attorney In Henderson, Nevada

It’s tempting to feel like a DUI is just a simple legal proceeding that’s easily navigated, but nothing could be further from the truth. You need lawyers for DUI cases, even if you plan to plead guilty, because a capable DUI lawyer helps you navigate the complex process and could potentially get your sentence reduced. Even if you’re not sure you have the financial resources to hire one, it’s worth a consultation to see if it might help, so visit our website or give us a call today.