Today, while mowing the lawn, my neighbors’ son stopped by to pass on a message to me from his mom, a close friend who, sadly, recently moved out of the neighborhood. As I spoke with him through the passenger window, I couldn’t help but notice the beer he had tucked between his legs.
Later, my other neighbor pulled in after a hard days work and went in the house, changed clothes, grabbed a couple beers, and chilled with me a while, relaxing after a hard days work. After an hour or so of pleasant chit-chat on the porch he said he had to run, having promised his wife to pick up something for supper. He had three beers while he was talking with me.
Last week, my sister, a wonderful woman in her 50’s who raised two kids (and a husband for that matter), who never missed a payment on ANYTHING in her life despite a very modest income (her credit limit is like that of the President of the United States – I mean, pretty much unlimited), came to visit and talked of the wonderful time she had going out with the girls from work after the workday had ended. She goes out and has a drink with friends maybe once a year. She believes in God and is a Christian and shies away from another relationship after her recent divorce because she says that she is ‘old fashioned’ and does not believe in even dating after divorce. The night out with the girls she had 2 drinks and an absolute blast. I asked her what she drank. She told me Long Island Iced Tea’s. They have 4 or more shots of alcohol in them. She didn’t know, but she sure had fun!
As the holiday weekend approaches, and everyone goes out to parties, or BBQ’s, or the beach, or wherever for some hard-earned fun, I’d like to post what my DUI cost me. Because I went to parties and BBQ’s and bars and beaches and every social event you can think of and drank and drove for years. Years and years. In fact, in DUI school we learned that statistically, the average person with a DUI on their record drove over 2000+ times under the influence before they got caught. The point is that they DID get caught. And I got caught. And you will too.
Most people are really careful if they drink and drive. Most people don’t kill people with their vehicles when they drink and drive. The reason DUI laws are out there are is because some people don’t have the capability of doing it without hurting someone. And because, face it, if your impaired, your impaired. You could hurt someone too, even if you are careful.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to stretch the law for those who can and those who can not. Those who just had a couple of beers in innocence and those who blatantly threw all responsibility out the window and killed someone. So if you are caught grabbing a beer before or during your drive home from work, or on the way home from a BBQ or day at the beach, the penalties are the same, with the exception of First Degree Manslaughter.
Here is what my DUI cost me:
400 in DMV costs
275 for DUI school
300 in court costs
3600 in increased car insurance cost (over 3 years)
350 for towing and storage
100 public attorney fee
600 in DMV required alcohol abuse counseling
600 for cost of supervision on pre-trial diversion release
500 donation to MADD
100 improved driver education course
100 for bail bond
100 for 10 day car boot
100 for DMV psychosocial analysis
75 required drug testing fee’s
35 victim impact class MADD
35 intake fee into pre-trial diversion program
100 restitution fee
55 telephone reporting fee
Additionally to note:
My car insurance doubled for the next three years, due to required increase in liability coverage, cost: 200/month. I lost my job due to transportation problems (lucked out on this one as I happen to be in the one industry where you can work from home, so was able to find another job but less pay). Countless dollars in bus and taxi fees. 8 hours in jail. Embarrassment in front of friends and family. I also need to do 50 hours community service and alcohol abuse counseling because I drank over the limit.
A DUI is not only expensive, it’s a huge embarrassing hassle. Even Brittany Spears and George W Bush have learned this.
Is that run to the grocery store after a couple beers really worth it? Beer or two on the way home from work? Fun little BBQ? Makes paying for a taxi a lot more attractive, doesn’t it? I used to balk at the price of a cab, if I could do it again, I would pay twice as much to the cab. And I do so now, and happily.
And can you handle the head trip of getting arrested, thrown in jail, and your license and job pulled out from under you? I’m a pretty tough person, but take my sister for example. Can you see her handling that well? Can you? If you have a family, a wife/husband and kids, or are responsible for an elderly parent as I am, how do you think you are going to feel when you are taking all that money out of the household and making them suffer so you can pay for a DUI?
Look. Get a cab, or designate a driver. Always. But especially during the holidays.
I know you don’t drink that much. I know it will never happen to you, poor unfortunate Charlie, his luck just ran out. I know you have done it a million times.
Do it anyway. For me and mine.
And for you and yours.