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The holidays are a time when people love to celebrate and for some people that includes drinking alcohol. If you decide to drink and drive this holiday season and are charged with a DUI it can be financially and emotionally catastrophic to you and your family. Here are some facts to consider:

1. Financial Burden: DUI penalties are severe. In addition to the cost to hire an attorney to help you, a first-time offender faces a minimum of 1 day in jail, loss/restriction of your driver’s license for 90 days, attendance at mandatory alcohol counseling, fines in excess of $1,500 and the requirement to install an ignition lock for a period of one year. All of this can be a financial stress and burden to divorced families, especially if the loss of work or wages results from your conviction and loss of driving privileges. 

2. Loss Of Parenting Time: A DUI could affect your ability to exercise your parenting time, especially during the time period when your license is suspended.  Additionally, if your co-parent believes you have a problem with alcohol or has safety concerns for the minor children, they could request assistance from the court.  This could include such things as a reduction of parenting time or supervised parenting time, mandatory random alcohol testing, and no driving with the minor children in your vehicle.

3. Emotional Stress: Never forget the kids don’t understand things the way adults do.  Consequences of your DUI like inability to drive with the kids and potentially decreased or supervised parenting time with them will be confusing.  Kids will not understand how and why this happened (let’s face it, you are the hero).  Watching you be required to blow into an interlock device will shake your kids’ confidence in the safety and security you can provide.  It is not unusual for kids who are exposed to this situation to need some counseling to help them cope and rebuild their trust in you.

4.  Protect Yourself and Your Family:  While it is never a good idea to drink and drive, it is especially dangerous during the holiday season when law enforcement agencies put a special emphasis on stopping people suspected of drinking and driving.  This means the likelihood that you will be caught goes up exponentially.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you are a few miles from your home that you’ll be okay.  If you have been drinking (even if you think you are okay to drive) err on the side of caution and call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to take you home safely.

If you or a family member are facing DUI charges, attorney Nicole Stearns is now offering criminal defense services in addition to practicing Family Law. Schedule a consultation with her today.