DUI, Divorce and Decision Making
If you are going through divorce, have children and you’ve been arrested for or convicted of drinking and driving, you are facing the 3 Dreaded “D’s”: DUI, Divorce and Decision-Making. It’s not an easy situation. You will worry, and you will fret, but all hope isn’t lost. If you play your cards right, it is possible for you to come out of this fog sharing joint legal decision-making authority with your soon-to-be-ex.
You are human. Your partner is human. Both of you have made major mistakes in life. You and your partner will make more big mistakes in the future. The real question for the court will be whether your DUI during divorce was an isolated incident or a pattern of behavior.
First Time DUIs During Divorce
Under Arizona law, there is a rebuttable presumption that if you are convicted of a DUI, joint legal decision-making is not in the best interest of the children (see A.R.S. 25-403.04). If you are the type of person who has never had any encounter with the law except for this DUI, the judge may give you the benefit of the doubt, so long as you take care of the obligations associated with your criminal case and watch your p’s and q’s moving forward. In fact, when people are convicted of DUIs in Arizona, they are almost always required to complete alcohol screening and treatment. You could actually spin your completion of the alcohol treatment program to your benefit by telling the judge what you have learned from the experience and how you intend to change moving forward.
Child With You in Car for DUI During Divorce
If your child was with you in the car when you were arrested for the DUI, you probably already realize how you potentially put your child at risk of harm. You could also be facing a felony charge for Aggravated Assault. A judge is required under the law take a harsh stance in a situation like this, but you still may be able to get joint decision-making if you are committed to doing what it takes. You are going to have to work. You might have to do random urinalysis tests. You might have to go to rehab. You will probably have to dig deep within to gain an understanding of why you made the decision to drink and drive, leading to your DUI during divorce. In a tough situation like this, it will definitely help to have input from skilled criminal and family law attorneys to guide you through the legal system.
There Is Hope Even if Drinking and Driving is a Pattern
Even if drinking and driving is a pattern of behavior which you recognize in yourself, obtaining a DUI during divorce is the perfect opportunity to become the person you want to be. Getting a DUI during divorce is a chance for you to turn things around not only for you, but for your most precious possessions — your children.
DUI during divorce is not the end of the world. It can be a new beginning for you and your family.