Weekends in an Orange Vest

While the fines suck, the 3-month DUI class is a pain, and inability to travel to Canada for 10 years is a bummer, the worst part about getting a DUI is the Weekend Work Program. As part of my punishment, I have do 5 days of weekend “work” or go to jail for the same amount of time without getting to go home at night. Of course, I, and everyone else arrested for a DUI, chose weekend work.

So far…

Day 1 — sat in a cold garage all day.
Day 2 — went to a field of rocks and “picked up rocks” all day.
Day 3 — went to a park and raked leaves into piles and then raked the same leaves out of piles.
Day 4 — washed windows that weren’t dirty all day.
Day 5 — ? next Saturday is my last day, finally.

It’s fascinating hearing the stories of people who were arrested for a DUI. There are hundreds of people who gather in a prison parking garage every Saturday and Sunday to serve out their time. Some blew a .08% after driving home from a wedding and not stopping fully at a stop sign, while others blew a .26% and woke up in handcuffs after a bad accident. I’ve met people who pled guilty with a .1 BAC and got a harsher sentence than those who fought it and got a plea bargin with a .15. I’ve met people who led police on a chase driving through a few red lights before passing out and getting caught. Many are in for their first DUIs, others for their second, who tell scary stories of spending time in jail. The main topic of conversation that gets us through the day is alcohol and drugs — most people go home after they get out at 4pm and drink. On Sunday, many talk about how hungover they are. A few brag about their drug use that morning. And, to my surprise, many on the program even sneak in joints and smoke when the supervisors aren’t looking.

They say once you have  your first DUI, you’re likely to get a second. That’s only true is that once you get a DUI you are on court probation for 3 years and if you have ANY alcohol in your system when you are driving and get caught (even .01%) you will get a second DUI. Meanwhile, a lot of the people who receive second DUIs just like to party and don’t seem to care, or they think they are invincible. I’ve heard many stories now of how the first DUI and second DUIs happen, and while I don’t judge, some of the people there make me sad because I know they are probably going to get another. They aren’t bad people (well, most aren’t) but their lives just revolve around partying, drinking and drugs. I’m still the only person that I met in there who got arrested because someone called 911 on my walking to my car; but that’s what I get for thinking I was ok to drive. I’ve learned my lesson, and I’ll never go near a car after drinking.

I wish the program was actually designed to help people. The DUI class is a joke. I’ve been to one so far (I have a 3 month program.) The class was 2 hours, with the first hour spent with the instructor talking about how to get help if you’re an addict, and then we watched an hour of a video from the early 2000s (though it seemed like it was from the 80s) about a father who was addicted to ecstasy. Apparently one week of the program the cops come in and show you mangled bodies that were in DUI-related accidents to scare you straight. I’m sure there is a better way to help people learn how to be healthy and safe with their drinking habits. It’s just a waste of time. Regardless, that waste of time, and money, has taught me a lesson that I wish I never had to be taught. Too many others are going to get another DUI, and the programs in place aren’t at all effective in stopping them.


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2 thoughts on “Weekends in an Orange Vest”

  1. Holy crap, 10 years of not being able to go to Canada at all?! Or is it just not being able to drive in Canada for 10 years?

    That's so sad that the system doesn't help prevent future DUIs. Can you think of a way to re-design it though that would? I would almost say that's a NP problem, haha.
    Leigh recently posted..Keeping Investing Simple

    1. First of all, they need a way to split DUIs into two groups — real alcohol addicts, and the people who got a DUI because they had a few glasses of wine/beer at dinner and were stupid and need a very specific education regarding their BAC levels. For the second group, you could very easily teach us about weight/height and other factors that effect BAC, and encourage us not drink before we drive at all, or to purchase breathalyzers (or require this) so we can always test before we drive to be sure we are ok. For the addict group, they need intensive counseling. Many of these people have severe co-existing conditions and putting them through the current program is a waste of time, they will be back again. I talked to one girl in for her second DUI, and her sister, she says, got three DUIs in 3 months. Their parents are (no surprise) also alcoholics. These are the people the system needs to help most, and these are the people the system fails.

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