I went to Catholic school for my entire elementary and high school life. At least once a year since about sixth grade - we were force fed slideshows that showed us gruesome photos of teens who decided to drive while under the influence of alcohol and either died or suffered traumatic physical ailments from a crash due to the intoxication. Obviously that shocks & disgusts you to the point of knowing to never drink and get behind the wheel. It has been embedded and drilled into my brain to never have more then two drinks and drive a vehicle because that has been the message shoved down my throat for about half of my life now. This is a good thing - but also not 100% informative. There are so many ways to get a DUI besides having more then two drinks and choosing to drive home. I found this out the hard way. With today being New Years Eve -- the one day of the year where the highest number of DUI arrests occur in the United States -- I wanted to share my experience with a DUI to hopefully inform you all as much as I can on the subject because we are definitely not taught everything we need to know in grade school to prevent ourselves from getting in this situation.
I would never think I could even say the words "I" and "DUI" in the same sentence unless that sentence was, 'I have never had a DUI". Unfortunately this is very common during this day and age -- and that plain sucks. With attending Catholic school for my entire child/teenhood - knowing someone had a DUI really made me automatically assume that person was an alcoholic, criminal, or both. I can't believe how judgemental I was in the past on this subject. It's honestly because those seminars I described above were always portrayed to make the audience think that only terrible people choose to drink and drive. Well...two in three people will get a DUI or be involved in a situation regarding a DUI. (Being a victim, riding in the passenger seat, ect) I guarantee you a majority of those people are not addicts!
DUI does not simply mean "Driving Under the Influence". Although most arrests will be because of actually driving while under the influence - the key word for avoiding a DUI is to remember it's the INTENT that matters. If it can be even the teeniest bit implied that you are INTENDING to drive at a given point in the next twenty four hours - you can get arrested. What is intent? That can be having your car keys in hand while intoxicated, being within twenty feet of your vehicle while intoxicated, and even being IN your car while intoxicated (eating, sleeping, what have you). I know that sounds shocking and a little over the top - but think of it this way: do you really know how long alcohol stays in your body and can affect your judgement? Probably not. You may have a couple of drinks and then grab a burrito thinking that burrito and a glass of water will bring you back to sobriety. Yes, you will definitely feel less intoxicated if you do that but the word of the day there is FEEL. Alcohol typically stays in your blood for about sixteen hours. So - are you going to eat that burrito and sleep it off in your car for a sixteen hours? Almost 99.9% of the time - you aren't. You'll pass out for a few hours and wake up, FEELING fine, and drive your car home. The scary thing is that you're more then likely still drunk and could risk not only harming yourself - but harming others or even killing a complete stranger. That's a crime that you could go to jail for minimum 15 years for. Is it worth it? No.
Even if you are driving one block home - in that one block you could EASILY run over someone and end their life. Was it really worth driving that short distance? No, it isn't. One DUI will change your life in so many ways - mainly it will change your life financially.
Court fines and attorney fees alone are about $4000. If you are trying to get a bailed out of jail that can be up in the thousands too. So now your bill is at roughly at $6000. This is only the beginning. Your car has been towed and that's in the ballpark of $300.
Now - If you want your license back - you're gonna have to complete traffic school. That's about $500 and is so time consuming. That $500 bill will grow larger if you miss any classes because late fees are GIGANTIC at traffic school. And, if you are absent too many times, you will have to go to court (yet again) and can face even more jail time. When you enroll in either your three, six, or eighteen month program - you have to pay $145 to the DMV to get your restricted license.
Speaking of time consumption - whether you choose to complete traffic school or not - you MUST complete going to an Assessment and a MADD assembly. If you miss either one of these, you will receive a warrant for your arrest. Both of these things happen at court -- so you will probably need to request off work at least twice to complete them. Your Assessment is going to court and having a government worker interrogate you to see if you are a raging alcoholic or not. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is an intense assembly that is at court as well. It is a mandatory $20 donation and takes up an entire afternoon.
Think your bill is complete? Nope. Your insurance is going to go up big time for at least the next ten years. That averages to about $40,000! YES, seriously! So now - just because you chose to drive home that ONE time while buzzed - you're out a good year's salary.
Past the financial burden - lets talk about the other consequences adults will face if they get a DUI. It can be the reason you lose a job or even the reason you can't get hired anywhere because that will forever be on your background checks. Outside of work - a DUI can break all sorts of relationships: families, friendships, and romantic partnerships.
The ONLY positive side of getting a DUI is if you happen to actually have a problem. This could be the wake up call you need to get help before it's too late. Other then that....the bad heavily outweighs the good. Most of us who get a DUI are not alcoholics or addicts, though. I think we all need to be better educated on what can lead to a DUI and then we can make intelligent decisions.
WAYS YOU CAN GET A DUI:
- DRIVING while intoxicated -- this can be less then two drinks depending on how strong your drink is, your body weight, ect.
- DRIVING while on prescription medication
- DRIVING while on over the counter meds such as Benadryl, Nyquil, Cough syrup, ect
- DRIVING while high or even buzzed
- SLEEPING in your vehicle after drinking/smoking/doing any sort of drug (I used to do this ALL the time after getting drunk because I was told for the longest time that as long as I wasn't in the driver's seat, it was okay)
- EATING in your vehicle while intoxicated/high/ect
- HOLDING your car keys while intoxicated/high/ect
You can blow below a .08 and still get arrested. It doesn't matter -- you have to remember a police officer is simply trying to protect everyone in the long run. If you show intent of possibly drinking more or just making wreckless decisions in general...you can just assume you're getting a DUI. It is a way to prevent you from going to jail for 15+ years if you happen to run someone over. It's a way to prevent murdering innocent people. It's a way to protect you too. Even if you just scrape someone with your car while intoxicated/high/buzzed - they can rightfully sue you for tens of thousands of dollars. It is simply NOT WORTH IT.
DON'T GET A DUI:
- ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN A,B+C (If your "Plan A" is that your friend is driving you home --> think of what could happen because plans change ALL. THE. TIME. What if your friend gets trashed and leaves you at the bar? Have a "Plan B" and always make your "Plan C" be staying at a cheap, trashy motel.)
- Take Uber, Lyft, a taxi, ect
- Have a D.D. (Designated Driver -- a lot of bars give free virgin drinks and food to DD's FYI)
- Stay at a motel for forty bucks or something like that (MUCH CHEAPER THEN $50,000+ FOR A DUI)
- Drink/get high at HOME
- Go out and don't consume any drugs or alcohol (life can be just as fun sober - if you don't agree, you may need to get some help so here's your wake up call)
- WALK - go to bars that are CLOSE to where you live
Honestly I still hate talking about this but I have to suck it up. What's done is done and I have to accept it. Getting a DUI was one of the most humiliating moments of my life and one of the lowest points to say the least. Since I started drinking at age 22 or so, I never thought it was illegal to sleep in the backseat of your car as long as you weren't in the driver's seat and also as long as the keys were not in the ignition. I trotted along for a couple of years going out drinking ---> parking in a public area where I can kind of hide my car ---> and sleeping off being drunk. I never thought twice about it because I wasn't actually DRIVING. My wake up call was choosing to drink when I was upset - mistake #1. I ended up drinking more then I was planning because I was very sad about another situation that had happened that day. I knew I shouldn't drive so I parked in a parking lot and slept in my backseat. About an hour into my slumber I was woken up by glaring lights in my face. The cops were nice enough but I blew a .09! ONLY .01 OVER THE LIMIT. I even "passed" those tests of walking in a straight line and saying the alphabet backwards. But - because I was showing signs of being a bad decision maker (aka sleeping in my car buzzed) - I was cuffed and taken to the police station. I was uncontrollably sobbing the entire time. At one point the lady at the window taking my mug shot was laughing a little at me saying, "Sweetie, calm down. This really isn't that big of a deal." That made me cry even MORE because to me this was a huge deal! Going to Catholic school for all of my schooling besides college has made me beat myself up over any type of trouble I get into.....so being ARRESTED is kind of a big deal!? I also have never felt more alone then the night I was arrested. Since I don't have a family, I obviously couldn't call them. This was around the time a group of friends I had thought were family decided to shun me and cut me out - so I couldn't call them. I had nobody....and that was a real shitty feeling too. I've been on my own my whole life but have never felt more isolated then that evening. Luckily I had to get a surgery that next morning so I wasn't even in the holding area for long at all. (Thanks, cancer!) So then I had to get my car out of towing (after my surgery). There was a miscommunication among my paperwork that didn't inform me of that Assessment I mentioned needing to go to earlier in this article - so I received a warrant for my arrest in the mail later on! That was horrifying too but I easily got that retracted because I simply went to my Assessment within the next week. Traffic school ended up being more like $800 for me instead of $500 because I'm lazy and hated going....so the extra $300 was just all of my absent/rescheduling fees.
I learned so much from my DUI that I probably wouldn't have if I didn't experience it. I can easily say I will never get one again. I hope sharing all this information with you today can help you be as informed as you possibly can be and that you can prevent the ones you love from making a silly mistake that can drastically hurt their/other's lives. Getting a DUI is not an end -- but it certainly is something you can avoid ever needing to deal with. I hope you have a Happy New Year - please keep yourself and the ones close to you safe too. AND of course #staynerdy!
SHOW OF THE YEAR
Tonight's the night! I'm ringing in the New Year with close friends and my fave band - Caskitt! Come to Tower Bar to see this AMAZING lineup and party (safely, of course) with us!
PERFECT HUMANS SALE OF THE DAY
HAPPY NEW YEAR from Perfect Humans! We are doing a ONE DAY sale that gives you 25% off your entire purchase! NYE only so ring in 2017 with us by adopting a Sloth Boy or sporting a Saturn Heart!
ADVENTURE OF THE WEEK
I finally got to experience the magical-ness of Donut Bar in San Diego! I didn't get to try a really cute donut or anything because we got there close to noon. But -- that lemon pistachio donut pictured above was SO GOOD. Best donut I have ever tasted, without a doubt. The bathroom was Homer Simpson themed so what more could you ask for?!