DUI–Don’t Let This Happen To You

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: DUI arrest

At dinner with two of my very best friends, my wife and I learned that “Mary” had been arrested at a driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoint this past October setting in motion a draconian series of events:

  • She was handcuffed, taken to jail and put in a filthy holding cell overnight
  • Car impounded on the spot–her passengers including her husband had to call to get a ride home–lots of cash required to reclaim the car the next day. [Your ATM daily cash withdrawal limit may not provide enough cash to get your car back!]
  • Convicted of misdemeanor drunk driving
  • 6 days of community service (one day credit was given for night in jail)–picking up trash on the side of the road–no matter that she’s a professional who could add value in a multitude of professional, non-profit activities
  • 3 months of DUI education classes and counseling–you don’t get your license back until you successfully complete
  • 1 month suspended license (no driving) followed by 5 months restricted license (drive to/from DUI classes, community service and work only)
  • 3 years probation–during term of 3 years probation, must submit to breath/blood tests if asked and ANY (e.g. .01) measurable amount of alcohol in your system will be considered a second DUI offense with much stiffer penalties.
  • If she is caught riding in a car with an intoxicated driver, that could be considered a violation of probation and, even though she may not have had a drink, this could cause a second DUI violation.
  • 2 points on driving record which will impact car insurance rates for a number of years
  • Estimated cost impact may exceed $10,000 and she will feel the impact of this for about 10 years of her life.

“Mary” was the “designated driver” that day, the driver expected to maintain sobriety so the others could enjoy freely. Over a 5-hour period, “Mary” consumed 2 glasses of wine with a full meal. She felt completely normal.

Yet, at the DUI checkpoint, her blood alcohol level was 0.09, 0.01 over the legal limit of 0.08. Her attorney suggested she duplicate the meal and actual wine consumption and get a blood test–the test confirmed that the breathalyzer test was accurate. Who would have thought this possible? Certainly not me. And, certainly not “Mary.”

I’ve known “Mary” since the 6th grade. She’s not a reckless person–she’s never been a reckless person. She’s not a  person to “drink and drive.” Yet, in the eyes of the law, she was “legally” drunk.

Given a smaller body mass, women are at a much greater risk for getting a DUI. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the more aggressive laws and policing have made drinking and driving really hard to do in this day and age, even more so for women and especially, petite women. The Department of Motor Vehicles in California considers a glass of wine to be 5 ounces.  Most glasses of wine served in homes or restaurants are 6 or 7 ounces.  That second glass of wine can put you over the legal limit so easily. A “glass” is a horrible unit of measure.

So, just don’t drink and drive. A cab or limousine is a mere pittance compared to the mental and financial toll you incur if you are stopped and found guilty of a DUI.

If this week’s posting saves you or a loved one from going through this, I will grateful as I’m sure “Mary” will be, too. Please share this story liberally. You don’t know who you might be helping.

PS: I have knowingly driven while being heavily intoxicated many times earlier in my life, long before the perception of drinking and driving and the laws changed. I thank my lucky stars that I was never suffered the same fate as “Mary,” that I never caused an accident, injury or death to anyone. Because of diabetes, I have about one drink per year now on very special occasions and, then, only if I’m not driving. Today, I can really feel the alcohol in just one drink. And, so can the breathalyzer. I urge real caution.

Thought for the week:

“Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.” – Vernon Law

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What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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