A DUI charge could lead to fines and jail time. You could lose your license; in some cases, that may mean you lose your job. The ramifications are serious. The more DUIs you have on your record, the worse they get.
But could that DUI also end your marriage? Could it lead directly to a divorce?
It does happen. In general, alcohol has a drastic impact on marriages in the United States. In recent years, experts note that alcohol abuse gets cited more often than it used to. In many cases, one spouse will claim that the other spouse is an alcoholic, and that may even be the basis for the divorce.
Of course, that does not mean that DUI charges are involved in every accusation. Someone may just be an alcoholic in a "safe" fashion by staying at home. But this could still lead to financial problems, health issues, family problems, emotional or physical abuse, and many other issues that drive a marriage apart.
That said, someone who struggled with the disease of alcoholism may also have a harder time avoiding a DUI. Drinking becomes such a huge part of that person's life. Living in a country built around personal cars as the main means of transportation, the two are bound to come together at some time.
A tipping point
Many times, people also attempt to hide alcoholism. This could mean the spouse who drinks too often hiding it from his or her spouse. It could mean both spouses hiding it from the kids, the extended family and their friends.
The DUI charge brings it into the open. It is impossible to hide when someone is publicly arrested, put in jail, kept out of work and unable to drive. Word gets out. That brings all of the family's potential issues out, and it may be enough for someone who was already thinking about divorce to move forward with it.
Legal charges can also act as a tipping point. Drunk driving is dangerous. A DUI is costly. A spouse may be willing to put up with excessive drinking and alcohol abuse at home, trying to talk the other person out of it but not taking drastic action. When the call about the arrest comes in, that can push things over the edge, making the spouse believe that change is not possible and that divorce is the only option.
As you can imagine, these crossover cases involving legal charges and divorce can get complicated. It is important for everyone to know what legal options they have, especially when they worry that the DUI charges may impact the outcome of the divorce.