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Could you lose custody if you get a DWI?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Family Law |

Parents who have gone through a divorce and been given custody rights are often worried that they’re going to lose those rights. Having shared custody is very important to them, as they want to spend time with the children just like their co-parent.

But say that you recently got pulled over and arrested on accusations of drunk driving. You’re already worried about what the DWI is going to mean for your driver’s license and your budget, but does this also mean that you could lose custody of your children?

Does the court believe the children are in danger?

As a general rule, courts always want to use shared custody when they can. They will make exceptions for this if they believe that it would be best for the children. One common qualification is that the court can give out sole custody if they believe that shared custody would put the children in danger.

So the circumstances of your DWI arrest may play a big role. For example, if you got pulled over for being slightly over the legal limit while you didn’t have custody of the kids anyway, and there’s no pattern of behavior showing that this happens all the time, then the court is unlikely to take away custody rights.

Conversely, if you got pulled over for a DWI while the children were in the car with you – a crime under Missouri law – then it’s clear that this decision put them in danger. The court may also believe that you’re a risk to them if you have an extensive list of drunk driving charges on your record, believing it’s only a matter of time until the children are involved.

If you are worried about losing your custody rights, that is very important to know about all of your legal options.