You know that the legal limit on a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08%, but you may not realize that you can be arrested and charged with driving while impaired (DWI) even when your BAC is lower. All it takes is a run-on-red or distractedly blowing through a stop sign while an officer is watching to start the ball rolling.

Any DWI charge is bad news, but it’s a lot worse when you’re trying to obtain custody of your children. Whether you’re trying to overcome limited visitation and get shared custody rights or you’re hoping for primary custody of your children, a DWI conviction could be fatal to your case — on top of all the other consequences you may have to endure.

Among the many different factors family court judges are obligated to consider when they’re deciding custody, one is “any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs.” If you read that closely, you can see how easy it would be for your children’s other parent to assert the idea that your DWI is a reflection of an alcohol addiction (rather than a simple mistake). You may quickly find yourself on the defensive in court, trying to convince a judge that you really don’t have an alcohol problem and are a safe custodian for your children.

Ideally, you should never drink and drive. The potential for a disaster is too great. That being said, mistakes do happen. If you find yourself facing arrest for DWI, stay cool, invoke your right to remain silent and contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible for assistance.