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DWI and its Effect on Child Custody in New Hampshire

Being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New Hampshire can have many steep potential penalties. Perhaps higher penalties than the accused DWI driver ever expected. Like any criminal charge, the penalties will speak to the severity of the situation, a regular DWI charge will, of course, be a lesser charge than an Aggravated DWI especially if one or more children under the age of 16 are present in the vehicle when arrested. If you also have the unfortunate circumstance to be going through a custody battle at the time of your arrest your chances at obtaining custody may diminish.DWI-with-child-300x150

Aggravated DWI in New Hampshire

In the state of New Hampshire, a person is guilty of “Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated” if that person drives, operates, or attempts to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or any substance that impairs the person’s ability to drive, or has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more and at the time alleged:

  • “Drives or operates at a speed more than 30 miles per hour in excess of the prima facie limit;
  • Causes a motor vehicle, boating, or OHRV collision resulting in serious bodily injury to the person or another;
  • Attempts to elude pursuit by a law enforcement officer by increasing speed, extinguishing headlamps or, in the case of a boat, navigational lamps while still in motion, or abandoning a vehicle, boat, or OHRV while being pursued; or
  • Carries as a passenger a person under the age of 16.”

How Does a DWI Have an Effect on My Child Custody Case

When determining parental rights in a custody battle, the court looks to the best interest of the child. A judge will review several factors when choosing which parent will receive custody, with no specific weight toward one factor or the other, in making a best-interest determination. The following are a few factors that the court will review which may result in an unfavorable outcome for the parent who has also been arrested for a DWI.

  • “The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.
  • Any evidence of abuse and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.
  • If a parent is incarcerated, the reason for and the length of the incarceration, and any unique issues that arise as a result of incarceration.
  • Any other additional factors the court deems relevant.”

Being arrested for a DWI, in general, may not win you any favor in the court, but being arrested for an aggravated DWI may cause the judge to question if you can provide a safe environment and are of sound mind to avoid endangering the life of your child. They may also take into account any penalties that you may receive from a DWI charge, such as incarceration, if you have not yet been sentenced for your arrest.

Tenn And Tenn, P.A., Can Help

For an intricate matter such as any DWI charge in conjunction with a child custody battle, you need the legal services of an experienced New Hampshire family law and criminal defense attorney. At Tenn And Tenn, P.A.we will fight to ensure that your rights are defended to the fullest. If you have been arrested for a DWI and are in a child custody battle, contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today!