CONSEQUENCES OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE 9
Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
Inconveniences due to DUI charges
Ever since I was arrested for driving under theinfluence of alcohol, my life has never been the same again. Iremember that night as if it was yesterday. I had just finishedhaving a few drinks with my friends when my impaired mind decidedthat I was fit to drive myself home. After I tested my level ofalcohol by standing on one leg, I concluded that I was more soberthan I was drunk. That night, I was arrested after a police officerpulled me over for over speeding. I had not thought of the offenseuntil I got arrested. Apparently, I was too drunk to take note of thespeed limits on my way home. I spent the night in police custodywaiting for my family to bail me out.
The immediate effect on me because of DUI wasspending the night in a police cell. I have never been arrestedbefore because I am incapable of hurting even a fly. The cell roomwas too cold for me. The environment made me vulnerable to capitaloffenders who kept taking suggestive glances at me. The experiencewas very embarrassing, especially the fact that I was in the middleof offenders yet I had not committed such before. I was unable tosleep because I was afraid of what my cellmates would to me once Ilet down my guard. The experiences of that night were traumatizingand thought provoking at the same time. Every time I remember my stayin there, my body shivers.
I also suffered financial losses owing to thehefty fine awarded by the court. Since I was a first-time offender,the court decided to let me go but not without a hefty fine. I wasfined a total of $1500, an amount I could not raise within such ashort duration. I had to look for other means to pay my fine. That iswhen I decided to approach my family. In order to raise the money,they had to incur budget cuts on basic commodities.
My fine was such an inconvenience to them thatto this day I still feel shameful about it. As a way of restoring myrespect as an adult in the family, I have decided to repay my parentstheir money. Currently, I have paid $800 and I am planning to workovertime to top up the deficit.
The DUI charges led to the suspension of mydriver’s license and now I have to rely on my friends to drive mearound. Every time I want to go shopping, I have to ring up myfriends to drive me there because I cannot drive. On days that I missthe bus to work, I also call my friends to ask for favors.
I cannot help but feel that I aminconveniencing them for a mistake that I did on my own. It is notgood to inconvenience people, especially when I am on the criminalside. Sometimes I feel that I should bear the consequences of myactions alone, but then such a decision is technically impossible. Bylooking at their faces, I can see how reluctant they are when I askthem to drive me around. I wish there was another way.
The charges have also inconvenienced mepersonally. As part of my punishment, I am supposed to attend a DUIdriving education program every evening. Immediately I leave work at5 PM, I rush there lest the coordinator writes me a badrecommendation. This arrangement has eaten into my schedule to theextent that I have no time left for my friends. I can no longer joinmy colleagues at the local for a few drinks as we wind down the day.
The education program has also affected severaldinner plans. I have lost count of the number of times I have arrivedlate at the venue only to find that my date already left and blockedmy number. It is especially tricky to tell your date that you arerunning late because you are in a drunken driving education programafter being charged with DUI in court. This would be embarrassing toyou.
The whole process has been emotionally drainingto say the least. Seeing my parents in the courtroom was one of themost heartbreaking experiences I have ever had to go through. Everytime I remember the courtroom, I get emotional. The cell experience,the court ruling, the financial constraints, and the inconveniencestherein have made the experience very emotionally draining.
Finally, I have read several sources that claimthat my DUI charges will haunt me forever. According to Smith (2013),DUI charges are a source of criminal records for many Americans. Thecharges also influence employment decisions. Employers who lookthrough the criminal records of potential job applicants are likelyto deny me employment for the only conviction I have ever had in myentire life. I also learned that from this point forward, myinsurance premiums would be higher than those of other policyholderswho have never been charged with DUI or been involved in an accident.
How to avoid DUI charges
The first step I should have taken to avoidbeing arrested for DUI was to appoint a designated driver. One of mydrinking friends is not a heavy drinker. I doubt his alcohol contentcould reach the legal threshold of 0.008%. To be honest, we shouldhave made him the designated driver by letting him know. After thedrinking spree, he should have driven each one of us home. That way,I would be home safely without a criminal record to worry about forthe rest of my life.
With the advent of Uber, drunken people shouldnot be driving any more. Initially, I would have given the excusethat taxis were not operating at the time we left the bar. However,all I had to do was to log in to my app and identify the nearesttaxi, thanks to the invention of Uber. All my friends have Uber ontheir phones I just do not know why we did not consider using theapp.
I would also have avoided the charges had weplanned prior to drinking. We should have made plans regarding how wewould get home, where we would leave our cars, and how much alcoholwe would consume. However, in this particular incident, we did notplan anything for our drinking spree.
It just happened that one of my friends haddiscovered this new joint with amazing cocktails and he wanted us tojoin him in sampling them. I can remember that much. I should haveasked my friends to organize the night out like the responsibledrinkers we are. In the course of organizing, we would haveidentified a designated driver or call a cab to remain on standby.
Profile of a DUI Victim
The profile of a person killed by an impaireddriver is that of my uncle who died five years ago. His name was JohnLee. On May 13, 2011, he was going home after working late at thehospital. After parking his car on the other side of the street, hewas hit by a drunk driver as he was trying to cross the road to enterhis house. He died on the spot. His family cannot help but think thathe would not have died had there been parking space in his garage.
A report by the pathologist shows that thedrunk driver hit the victim on the lower spine before landing fiveyards away from the point of contact. The damage on the spinerendered all the brain functions redundant. The victim passed on twominutes after the impact because the brain could not coordinatebreathing and the functioning of the heart. He also had fatalinternal injuries that affected the body functioning. The instantdamage on the central nervous system of the victim explains why hewas pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital a few minutes afterthe accident. At the hospital, the doctors indicated that he wasclinically dead at 2316 hours on May 13, 2011.
John Lee was born on April 26, 1960 at SilverBay City in Minnesota. He joined the Beaver County elementary schoolwhere he studied until 1974, before proceeding to Silver Bay HighSchool. In 1978, he joined Harvard University for a degree inbiomedical sciences. Upon his graduation in 1981, he proceeded topursue his medical degree at the Harvard Medical School.
Unlike many others who spend extra years inMedical school, John Lee was able to complete his medical degreewithin the stipulated time of four years. He was smart andhardworking which saw him succeed at the medical school and get goodgrades in most of the courses he took. During the recommended twoyears internship period, he was posted at the Lakeview Hospital inCalifornia. After completing his education, he moved to Seattle wherehe set up his own practice.
At the time of his demise, John Lee’s privatepractice had grown to an inpatient hospital with a bed capacity of30. He had a team of 20 Medical professionals, among them, threeexperienced surgeons. His hospital had the resources to performcomplex procedures including tumor removal, chemotherapy, andreconstructive surgery.
After his death, his wife appointed one of thelead doctors to manage the hospital. However, the hospital collapsedafter it emerged that the doctor in charge had been channeling theproceeds of the hospital to his own account. He was arrested in 2013,but then the damage had already been done. In the same year, theauthorities had to shut down the private hospital for what theytermed as non-compliance.
John Lee was a father, and a husband to threechildren and one wife respectively. He married his longtimesweetheart in a glamorous ceremony in 1990. In 1994, they wereblessed with their firstborn. Three years later, the couple wasblessed with twins, beautiful newborns. The twins were a boy and agirl. At the time of his demise, his eldest son was 16 years old,waiting to join college.
The twins were still in junior high. As thebreadwinner in his family, he made sure that his children attendedthe best schools and they got everything they needed. His wife was aschoolteacher who most of the time took part in taking care of thefamily while her husband was working late.
After the death of John Lee, his family plungedinto financial constraints and lack of basic needs. The lifestylethat he had exposed his family to also proved too expensive tomaintain. The situation got worse when the hospital started makinglosses because of poor management. Mrs. Lee had little experience inrunning a hospital and therefore she could not do much to salvage thesituation.
Employees at the hospital were alwayscomplaining of delayed salaries and consequently, their morale wentdown. It was not long before the number of clients drasticallydropped owing to poor service. Gradually, Mrs. Lee started to selloff some hospital assets in order to finance her lavish lifestyle.When the hospital finally shut down, she was left with no othersource of income apart from her low paying job.
The closure of the hospital marked the downwardtrend for the family. The eldest son, who was enrolled in a privateuniversity, has since dropped out to do minimum wage jobs in order tosupport his siblings. The twins in Junior high had to transfer topublic schools because their mother could no longer afford theexorbitant tuition fees.
The family had to rent out their up-market homeand move to a smaller apartment within the city. The family isdepressed to the extent that a reminder of their former life drivesthem to tears. They attribute their woes to driving under theinfluence. It is astonishing how a drunk driver can cause so muchtransformation with such a short duration. In their opinion, thosewho cause accidents because of DUI should pay with capitalpunishment.
Smith, E., (2013). Copingwith the Long-term Effects of a DUI.Ignition Interlock Help. Retrieved from<http://www.ignitioninterlockhelp.com/blog/coping-longterm-effects-dui/>accessed July 1, 2016