When thinking about the possible consequences of an Arizona DUI conviction, the most commonly feared repercussions involve infringements on your freedom, such as jail time, probation, or the suspension of your driver’s licenses. However, Arizona DUI offenses carry a host of other collateral consequences that can also have a significant impact on your life. One common question facing those who are arrested for DUI offenses involves the impact a conviction could have on their ability to obtain or maintain custody of their children. While a conviction alone is not likely to result in someone losing custody of their children, it can play into the court’s decision.
For example, take a recent appellate decision issued by the Arizona Court of Appeals. In that case, a child was born three weeks prematurely. It was later determined that the baby’s mother tested positive for multiple drugs. However, the child’s father sough to maintain custody. At the hospital, the father was emotional and, evidently, security had to escort him out of the building. A week later, the father was arrested for reckless driving and, after a blood test revealed his blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit, he was arrested for driving under the influence.
In this case, the court had to determine if the lower court’s determination that the child was a “dependent child,” meaning one “who has no parent or guardian willing to exercise or capable of exercising” the care and control a child needs. Among the factors the court considered was the fact that the father had been arrested for driving under the influence. While there were certainly other issues the child’s father had that caused the court concern, there is a reason the court included the father’s DUI arrest in its opinion.