A DWI conviction is a mistake that everyone wants to learn from and leave behind. Unfortunately, it is a mistake that has life-altering consequences, especially as a single parent.
Minnesota courts want to ensure the safety of the child before anything else, which means they must look through parents’ criminal histories to determine the best arrangement for the child’s interests. Your co-parent could easily use a DWI charge as collateral to sole custody of your child.
The sensitive nature of child custody
The prospect of a DWI charge affecting your parenting time is intimidating. You may even be scared to confront the topic in court in fear of losing any chances of being in your child’s life. However, you must face the topic head-on, in a sensitive manner.
First, analyze the circumstances of the incident. A DWI charge is more significant if it was a recent occurrence, children were in the vehicle and if it’s a repeated offense. If children were in the car, the judge would be most hesitant to allow them in your presence, especially while driving. The same thought is true if you have multiple DWI charges on your record.
Second, develop the right strategy for your situation. If you received only one DWI charge, you might be able to argue it was an isolated incident and are still a capable parent. If you are multiple on your record, consider volunteering for an alcohol program or monitoring your sobriety to prove your dedication to your children.
Finally, decide what you are willing to settle on. In Minnesota child custody cases, most courts want to assign joint-custody, so talk with your partner to find an agreement that works for both of co-parents. It’s best to be sensitive to both parents’ interests.
Any criminal convictions could be used against you during a child custody hearing, so be prepared. Consult with the right advocate and develop a technique that allows you to be an active parent in your child’s future.