My $30,000 DUI

We all do it, we’ve all done it. Tens maybe hundreds of times. We don’t all get caught and we push our luck every time we get behind the wheel. Why? To sleep in your own bed, not having to deal with your car the next morning miles away, avoid parking tickets, whatever the reason is, being drunk only makes you more stubborn. Well it makes me a little stubborn.

In a city like San Diego, where transportation is your car or a cab. But if you are living in La Mesa and wanting to party in Pacific Beach (PB) then you have to fork over $50 a night for a roundtrip cab or drive at the risk of being intoxicated. Now, fifty dollars may not seem like a lot for one night but a college student who goes out nightly and banking on happy hour doesn't have that kind of money.

THE NIGHT

It was Wednesday November 24th around 10:00PM when my girlfriend and I decide to go out for Thanksgiving Eve with our usual crew. It was my night to be designated driver, usually my girlfriend drove, it was her car after all. We were staying at my house in La Mesa, and out drinking in Hillcrest, which is about 15-20 minutes from each other. 

I remember drinking right when we got there so I would have time to cool down my BAC. I recall having a glass of wine, which at bars is usually about two shot glasses full. Later, I was told I had some fruity drink and a shot of something. 99 percent of the time I drink beer, I can’t stress that enough. My body loves beer, it knows beer, I understand beer. 

Last call comes around and I remember walking to the car getting in and blasting classic rock. After about 13 minutes of driving Eric Johnsons, Cliffs of Dover turns on and I completely forget that I am driving while intoxicated. I’m getting off the freeway onto the next and all of a sudden all I see is red and blue. I gently lean over to my girlfriend and let her know I’m getting pulled over.

I can literally see my exit and map out in my head how close I was to being home. Officer approaches my window and simply skips all the cliche mumbo jumbo with a “you were swerving in and out of lanes, have you been drinking?” Alcohol is most definitely a truth serum and I’m not one to question authority. I stepped outside of the car and followed his instructions with the sobriety test, which is surprisingly easy. The officer let me know that I nailed the test and asked me if I would blow to see my BAC. I agreed and blew a .127 he then asked me to empty my pockets and asked if I needed any phone numbers from my phone before they took it away. I said YES and wrote down my girlfriends number. I only knew my parents house phone and my roommates phone by heart. 

The officer read me my rights and put those cold shiny handcuffs on, very gently I might add. During this whole process I stayed calm and positive. I knew what was happening and decided that crying or freaking out wasn’t going to get me anywhere productive, also the alcohol was still very much in my body keeping me care free. 

They lead me to the back of the squad car and asked my girlfriend to get in as well. There were two officers and since I had been so cooperative one of them drove our car to a safe spot so they didn't have to impound it. They also dropped off my girlfriend at my house and waited for her to get inside the house before they drove me off to lady jail. Being nice to cops paid off. 

On the way to jail I decided to spark up a friendly conversation with the two cops asking if this night is common for DUI’s, they said yes. They also told me they made a note in my report that was very friendly and cooperative, again paying off! Once arrived to jail they took my blood, because at this point why not. Took my fingerprints asked me 1003 questions, took my bobby pins out of my hair, and my jacket which was apart of the outfit if you know what I mean, and placed me in the “waiting” room with all the other not so lucky drunks girls. We all shared our stories about how we got caught, what we drank, and what we were doing, and any other details that seemed relevant. One girl was eating a Crunch Wrap Supreme and the officer pulled her over because he thought she was on her phone, then he smelled her wine breathe and got her for a DUI. She was in her pajamas and slippers and just drank at home and got a little hungry. There were other girls in there for different reasons. Like repeat offenders, some rocking back in forth in the corner yelling at all of us to shut up! A younger girl came in balling her eyes out, we all politely asked, “what did you do.” She answer with, “minor drunk in public.” We all booed her and told her to chill out, she is basically getting a slap on the wrist. She later went to the proper drunk tank and waited it out till the morning. 

Four lucky girls got selected to leave the waiting room, one of them was me. We were asked to strip naked and show all of our hidden parts, and sometimes spread. All the officers at this point are all female, forgot to mention that. She noticed my tampon string and kicked over a trash can to me. Yes, kicked it over to me and slid it across the ground. She implied with her eyes, pull it out and put it in there. I laughed and did as I was told. She pointed at some pads behind me on the shelf with all of my “new” clothes. Our team colors were grey and blue in case you were wondering. I opted out of their underwear and pads and figured my period was just as terrified as I was and was going to stay hidden. 

After the wardrobe change we were put in the room across from the waiting room. There I saw my friends and tried to communicate about why I was in there and why she wasn’t. I made somewhat friends with the repeated and stayed close to her. She was tweaky but seemed like the best option in the room incase shit got real. 

The alcohol started to ware off and reality was starting to sink in. I dozed off on a roll of toilet paper on the ground. I actually fell asleep for a couple of minutes. I think waking up in jail is almost worst. It wasn’t a bad dream and I couldn’t laugh at it anymore. Breakfast came around and thankfully I wasn’t hungry because repeater had her eyes set on my dry bologna sandwich. I gave it to her and drank my milk. The orange was way too much work and Thanksgiving meal was right around the corner.

Around 7:00AM they let me change back into my clothes. By then I had already seen all of my new friends get released, I was basically the last one and started to freak out a little. 9:00AM hit and my name finally got called. I walked up to the window at the desk, signed some papers and was given all of my belongings in a plastic bag. Saw my girlfriend and couldn't have been happier to get out of there.

Went home called my parents and told them the juicy details. They knew that jail was punishment enough and didn't feel the need to jump down my throat. I am forever grateful for that. I chose to ignore my repercussions and made an entire Thanksgiving meal for my girlfriend, and 4 friends. Best turkey Adrienne Lindstrom has ever had… Ask her, it’s true.

POST DUI BULL SHHHH

The fees don’t stop adding up and they still do to this very day, 5 years later. $500 for the bail bond, $2500 for the DUI fine (like a speeding ticket there is a DUI ticket), $2500 for the lawyer, I will get into what he did for me later, $500 for the DUI Program that consists of a group session, I called it group therapy, and a DUI learning course, my insurance is $200 plus every month just for basic insurance, and finally a required donation to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

Everything I learned in the group session as well as the DUI class should be mandatory information before you get your license. Hearing all the different peoples stories was very eye opening. It was a safe zone of zero judgement. They ask you why you drink and how much you drink a week to really give yourself some perspective. Talked about things in that group session that I didn’t with my friends. And every week everyone was excited to hear about your progress. Sounds cheesy but I wouldn't have been able to get through my break up with my girlfriend or had the courage to move to a completely new city knowing only one person if it wasn't for that class. 

I am definitely glad I got a lawyer. He reduced my time without a license and I was given permission to drive to and from work and DUI program. Instead of community service he got it reduced to two AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) sessions. Which was so awesome to be a part of. I didn’t speak or contribute but I listened and I held hands and recited the steps with them. I wanted to bring up those officers who pulled me over. I also had a fixit ticket trailing my case for not having the correct address on my license. They dismissed it and saved me $247. I truly believe being cooperative helped my case to get best case scenario for my punishment.

So a grand total of at least $6200 dollars and each month paying insurance is such a drag. Which at $200 times 60 months is $12,000 and I have another 5 years to pay that same horrid insurance. 5 more years and it will be off my record. So now what, I don’t drive and drive period. Having a DUI on your record means a zero tolerance policy. Two DUI’s could result in jail time and more than that is a felony. I’m lucky its just a misdemeanor. If I blew a .01 I would still go to jail. No means no. I won’t preach why you shouldn’t, that’s the easy part. Just plan better. Or have a really funny slash weird story to tell. I’d rather keep my money.

In 10 years I will have payed $30,000 for my DUI

 

DUI MYTHS

Myth #1: Breathe spray or mouthwash can lower BAC

Using breath spray or mouthwash is not going to lower your blood alcohol content (“BAC”).  In fact, because many of these products actually contain trace amounts of alcohol or other active ingredients, using them might actually make matters worse for you.  Even if your BAC result is not affected, you may still run the risk of raising the suspicion of police officers that may notice your attempt to cover your breath.  A highly suspicious police officer could also make matters worse for you when you are suspected of DUI.

Myth #2: Eating or delaying the test will lower your BAC

It is true that eating can mitigate the physical effects of alcohol consumption, but it does not actually lower blood alcohol content.  Delaying your BAC test is likewise unlikely to be helpful, unless you can delay the test for an hour or more.  In the shorter term, delaying the test might actually increase your BAC because it allows time for more of the alcohol that you recently consumed to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Myth #3: Holding metal in your mouth while taking a Breathalyzer test can fool the test

The idea that putting a penny or other metal object in your mouth will prevent the Breathalyzer from detecting alcohol is false.  The presence of metal in your mouth will not influence the functioning of the Breathalyzer.  Again, if a police officer observes your effort to subvert the Breathalyzer test, he or she may become more suspicious, making your encounter with law enforcement more difficult than it would otherwise have been.

Myth #4: The state cannot convict for DUI if you refuse to take a BAC test

While it is true that the police cannot forcibly take your blood for BAC testing without your consent or without a warrant, the absence of your BAC test results will not prevent the authorities from prosecuting you and ultimately obtaining a conviction for DUI.  Prosecutors can use other evidence to prove their case against you. For example, the arresting officer may testify about his or her observations of you on the scene of your arrest.  Testimony that you smelled of alcohol, or that you were slurring your speech, or stumbling as you walked, can be very compelling evidence, and quite likely all of the proof that the government will need to convict you of DUI or a related offense. In addition, in California, every driver who receives a driver’s license has consented to BAC testing.  Whether or not your are ultimately convicted of DUI, refusing to take a chemical test in California when you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI can lead to the revocation of your driver’s license.

Myth #5: Blowing below a BAC of 0.08 is still legal

What they don’t tell you is that there are two convictions. One, driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. Two, driving under the influence of alcohol over the BAC of 0.08. So even if you decided to have one beer and you get pulled over and blow any BAC over zero, that police office can arrest you. So basically there is no way around it and its not safe to drive while influenced at all. What’s the point of having one beer anyway.