life after DUI: attempting to start over without really starting over.

Life happens. Mistakes are made. How the rest of your life turns out depends on how quickly you’re able to bounce back, as well as how you’re able to turn things around and not make the same mistakes again.

It’s been six months since pleading “no contest” to my DUI arrest at .08% BAC, and 10 months since the actual evening of the arrest. I’ve gone through many phases after the arrest, including depression, shame, guilt, anger, and now, coping and trying to move on.

I’ve been without a car for months now — thought I’m eligible to register for a restricted license to get to work, I’ve been avoiding that and driving because I’m scared to let myself get near a car. On Monday, I’ve finally made myself a DMV appointment to purchase a restricted license. This summer, once my classes are over, I should be able to get a full license and attempt to bring my life back to normal, or better yet, move forward to a place I’ve never been — in control, and in charge of my own happiness.

In my DUI class the other day, we had to do an exercise called “the 12 hours before your DUI.” It had a series of multiple choice questions, that because with — “was it on a usual or unusual day?” For me, it was an unusual day. I was having a huge bought of anxiety and hadn’t moved from my bed for the entire day, not even to eat. I don’t even remember why I was so stressed, but I was having a bad enough panic attack that I requested to work from home that day. Then, around 5pm I decided it would be best to force myself to get out of the house and go to a meetup event, where I could try to be social and get myself some food. Unfortunately, instead of food, there was only wine and a lot more anxiety. So I had four or so glasses to drink on a very empty stomach.

The questionnaire went on to ask what time you started drinking, where you were, and what time you were arrested. I started at 7pm, finished at 9:30pm, and was arrested around 12:30pm. Why were you arrested? My option was “other.” Most people in the class had been pulled over for driving poorly. I have the lowest BAC in the class at .08%. Most people had .14% or higher, with a few .20% and higher. Some stories are so crazy (like the guy who got arrested with three kids in the back seat and a .24% and, because he had a good lawyer, got less of a punishment than I did with my .08% and no traffic violation) or the woman who was drinking all day and ended up driving with a .22% to help her friend out who forgot her seizure medication at a party. Most people were celebrating, a few had been drinking all night, went to sleep and woke up the next morning to drive, only to get a DUI because the alcohol hadn’t left their system.

At the end, the questionnaire asked four final questions:

1. Do you feel responsible for the events leading up to your DUI?
2. Do you think it was fair that you were arrested?
3. How likely are you to get a DUI again?
4. How hard will it be for you to get a second DUI?

We’re told that 40% of first DUI offenders will get a second DUI. That seems ridiculously high, but in forcing myself to answer these questions honestly, I understood why.

1. Do you feel responsible for the events leading up to your DUI? Yes, entirely.

2. Do you think it was fair that you were arrested? Somewhat. I think it was unfair I was arrested that night because someone called 911 on me walking to my car — not even because I was driving poorly — and all of the videos they force us to watch show accidents with people who had .15% or higher — but I also am glad they did because it was much better to learn this lesson on a night I was just barely over the legal limit, then another night when I might have been more depressed, more intoxicated, and hurt someone. I still think it is unfair how people who have clearly had a lot more to drink end up with the same punishment or even lesser punishment if they have good lawyers.

3. How likely are you to get a DUI again? Very unlikely. I wanted, so desperately, to put that it definitely wouldn’t happen, but then I wanted to be honest.

4. How hard will it be for you not to get a second DUI?  The only real way for me to guarantee that I will never get a DUI again is to stop drinking. Of course when I’m sober I can say I wouldn’t drive after I drink, but the problem is that when you drink you think irrationally. I’m a lightweight, and after even one drink my logic goes to shit. I am glad that this experience after the DUI is so frustrating — because it’s easier to “forget” paying $10k over the years, but it’s not easy to forget the night in jail, the five days of SWAP program where I was a part time convict and freedoms were taken away from me, and now, this year of my life which has been really difficult due to not having a car, putting a great deal of stress on not only my life, but also my boyfriend’s life, as he has so kindly helped drive me over the year. Somehow I’m managed to maintain my job this last year, but I’ve been severely depressed, and have gained more than 20 pounds, now at my largest weight ever. I feel so out of control, and so I just eat and eat. This is another reason I must get my life back in order.

I won’t get a second DUI, I promise myself, and I promise the world, but I also said I wouldn’t get a first. I think that sort of messes with your mind also… which might lead to the likelihood of people getting a second or third, even. But I refuse to be a statistic.
Beyond the DUI, though, there is a question of whether I should drink in the first place. It’s challenging not to, with my work culture tied to our weekly happy hour. I like drinking too, because I’m so shy and awkward, at the time, it helps me be social, and feel like I belong. It isn’t like I’m going out to get shit faced, but even one drink of red wine makes me more comfortable with others. I wish I could figure out a way to feel like that without the alcohol. It also turns out that since the DUI, I’ve started drinking more than I used to, because of this depression and hatred over losing the last bit of control I felt like I had with life.
In any case, I’m really focused on moving on with my life. There’s a lot going on right now causing me to be depressed beyond this issue, things that the rational, not depressed person would be able to deal with, things that are really making getting through each day difficult. Luckily there is a lot of positive things in my life right now too, so it all balances out. There are days when I feel like giving up. I’ll write more about that in my next post.
I just want all of the DUI penalties to be done with, so I can really move on. I’ve finished seven of my 17 classes (which are taking a long time because they are weekly and I frequently travel for work), and I’ll be paying the fines and increase in insurance for years to come. I finally filled my SR-22 with my insurance, so I can get the restricted license, and will be getting that on Monday. My car apparently isn’t turning on because it hasn’t been driven in months, so I need to see if it can be fixed or if I need a new car. Soon this will be over. And I really, desperately, need to change my life so this — and other things like this — do not happen again. My next post will be on self sabotage and how this effects life and my financial stability.



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72 thoughts on “life after DUI: attempting to start over without really starting over.”

  1. You say that you can't guarantee that you won't get a DUI again, which indicates to me that you're going to be a repeat offender. Instead you are still hung up on how unfair your arrest was. You say that the videos you were shown don't apply to you because your BAC wasn't that high. Well, guess what, you still got a DUI and it still goes into your record.

    You say, "I’m a lightweight, and after even one drink my logic goes to shit." This is not an acceptable reason for getting a DUI, this is the kind of excuse a child would use to explain why she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. YOU alone are responsible for knowing your own tolerance. Adults eat before they go out to happy hour, children bow to peer pressure. Adults get a ride home, children act like they should be able to do whatever they want.

    Go back and read your old posts about when you got arrested. Think about the money, the time, and the embarrassment. If you don't feel the shame and anguish you displayed back then about your arrest, then you WILL get arrested again and I hope to GOD that none of my loved ones are on the road when you are driving. You can be a danger to yourself all you want, but try to think about the consequences that you could wreak on someone else's life.

    DON'T just offer us empty promises. You are an adult, take some responsibility for yourself. If not, then you should stay off the roads in California and everywhere else in the country because — you shouldn't be driving! Again I beg you, please get off the road before you hurt someone I love, until you can approach this like an adult would.

    1. The truth is I'm not going to get another DUI. The reason I posted this is because 40% of first offenders get a second. I wanted to point out that I always wondered how this could be the case — but then I've realized, for people who make the mistake in the first place, you already have an issue with judgement, and you've already proven that you've failed to think logically when you were intoxicated. This is not to say I will do this again ever — I won't — but it's also just a reminder to myself that I need to not let my emotions cause me to drink too much when I shouldn't, and to make the mistake again. Just as I need to be honest in how angry at myself I am for driving that night, I'm also realistic in that it's not going to be "easy" to never do this again. It's something that I need to focus on every single time I go to a social event. Still, this isn't an empty promise… it's not going to happen again. But the point is that it's difficult because I clearly have other mental health problems that make it harder to make the right decisions. Yes, I think my arrest was unfair — .08% BAC is a random number chosen as the cut off for illegal intoxication, but there is no proof you are more likely to get in an accident at .08 vs .07 (most accidents occur over .15% (The average BAC among fatally injured drinking drivers is .16)). I also know that I won't get near a car when I have anything to drink (even one drink) and making this rule will help me never get into trouble again. If I'm going to drink, I'm going to make sure that I have a way to get home by public transportation. I overall want to stop feeling like I need to drink in social situations, so I can avoid these problems in the future. I must remind myself that it's not something that is easy to do after I've had a few drinks, so I must plan in advance to make sure this isn't a problem.

      1. I pleaded no contest yesterday for a dui. in fl you are adjudicated guilty automatically. there is no withheld. I am not learning that it stays on your record for 75 yrs…really?…its one thing to be punished another to have it on your record for life. it affects housing, jobs and your insurance rates bad enough….I can understand it staying on your record for a few yrs andthen being dropped after 10 yrs like they do in some states, even that is s bit extreme. we as humans make mistakes and some people learn I know I have and I’m sure many others.have and won’t do it again…I’m wondering if there is a way to have this law changed not only in fl but in other states as well. if enough people fight for they’re rights I’m sure it can be changed.

        1. Exactly, and you have bitches like the one above who hasn’t gone through hell yet, but when she does, I hope she feels the repercussions worse than anyone else did. Stupid, non-compassionate bitch that she is!

    2. What an arrogance. I hope to whoever whatever your GOD is that your loved ones don't get harsh judgment from you.

      1. Joy,

        I want to say thank you for this page. Please do not be discouraged or feel judged by what others say. Sometimes events like this can cause a major shift in your life. For the better. I hope this is one like that. We all make mistakes. The best you can do now is to learn from it and move on. Make sure you do not do it again.

        To the other poster that is highly judgmental, imagine yourself in a terrible situation. One that you never thought you would ever find yourself in. It happens. No one is infallible. It is easy to judge others and be self righteous. It is much harder to be understanding.

    3. I'm pretty sure that all of the knotted up rejects of society like "Let's be honest" [sic] who post judgmental crap like this are the same drivers who believe the road is theirs and theirs alone, and that their time is more valuable than everyone else's. Any objectionable driving behavior that gets them to their destination a few seconds ahead of the next guy is fair game as long as they're not drinking.

      Who knows, maybe he/she/it (let's go with 'it') got a DUI of its own after gargling with mouthwash, or goat's blood, or whatever it likes to slosh around its gaping, unsightly mouth in the morning. It may have taken to heart the GAWD-given opinions of other equally unhinged cave dwellers, none of which were needed or even remotely warranted. Now, it's a crusader. Good for it.

      For whatever reason, these troglodytes believe this sort of attack to be a right and just way to treat others. FYI, it's not. So, "Lets be honest", please crawl back into your pus- and sputum-encrusted spider hole and wait for the reaper. After he arrives, you're not going to where you think you're going.

      Too much? It definitely made me feel better! [now that I think about it, maybe that's why people post this holier-than-thou claptrap in the first place…]

    4. I just want to tell you and anyone else who has ever gotten a DUI not to feel guilty or bad about drinking and driving. First of all, YOU are NOT a criminal, you are a VICTIM of the legal system and the fanaticism of those crazy bitches at MADD. Not everyone who drives after drinking (notice how I did NOT say driving drunk, because that is entirely subjective) is a potential criminal. You are NOT a murderer unless you actually killed someone. You have NOT caused an accident unless you actually drove recklessly, causing an accident. You have NOT endangered anyone's life if you have not actually caused caused anyone harm.

      DUI laws are just basically money making schemes and organizations such as MADD, mothers against drunk driving are the REAL CRIMINALS because this non profit organization generates over $144 Million dollars a year by brainwashing people into believing that alcohol is bad and everyone who drives drunk has the potential to cause harm or murder someone; let me tell you what, so is a SOBER person and statistically, there are more accidents caused by sober drivers than drunken drivers.

      The woman who created the organization MADD believed that she was a victim because coincidentally a driver who happened to be drunk accidentally killed her daughter. But what about all the victims of DUIs? People who get DUIs are also victims; financially, emotionally and psychologically. A victim of a DUI will often be depressed and depression can lead to suicide and possibly mental breakdown due to financial loss, a criminal record that will mark him or her for life and a future that is uncertain simply because it is illegal to have a BAC over the limit of 0.08%.

      Sober drivers kill more people than drunken drivers and the majority of people who are charged with a DUI are probably more safe to drive than people might be lead to believe. Go to a big city on the weekends and you will see thousands of people driving after consuming alcohol and make it home safely. Sure, there are isolated incidences, but hudnreds of thousands of people drink and drive EVERY DAY, but home many times do you see a drunken driver kill someone on the news? Once a week? a few times a month? It's not very likely that a so called "impaired" driver causes any harm. The majority of DUI stops are simply preemptive strikes against a potential crime that has NOT YET been committed. The majority of these people are simply trying to make it home without being harassed by police who have nothing to do other than to screw someone over for allegedly driving drunk. Assuming that all people are not safe to drive after a few drinks is like assuming that all Middle Eastern people are terrorist, it's wrong and not logical.

      As libertarian author Radley Balko said that if "we really care about road safety, we should abolish drunk driving laws".

      Basically, my point is, we need more people who are willing to band together take up a stand to abolish drunken driving laws and to take up a stand against organizations such as MADD who only make it worse for people who are charged with a DUI because WE are VICTIMS of a PREEMPTIVE STRIKE against crimes we have NOT committed!

      Speaking of preemptive strikes… This one could lead to something much darker and more severe as DUI stops are psychologically, emotionally and financially damaging. A DUI charge could cause enough psychological trauma, stress and damage to a person's psyche to make him or her suicidal because of the difficulties in getting a job, having a criminal record, loss of income, loss of a job and so forth. All of these things could lead to a DUI victim to suicide or much, much worse, and potentially turn him or her into a mass murderer (a SOBER mass murderer I would like to add) examples being Columbine shootings, the Colorado movie theater shooting, Virginia Tech and so forth. This is just my opinion, an unlikely scenario, but if I can think of it, then who's to say it will not happen? It's stuff like this that the law makers don't take the time to think about. Therefore, we NEED to prevent this from happening and REPEAL DUI/OVI laws!

      LIKE this page if you agree:

      "Police need to concentrate on the reckless driving itself and not necessarily what's causing it." – Radley Balko

      1. Wow, is this the most horrifically selfish thing I’ve ever read. I suppose that if you fire a gun into a crowd but miraculously miss everyone than you are also innocent of wrongdoing, and should be allowed to do it again until you hit someone?
        I’m writing this as I sit in bed while my family goes out for ice cream. Why aren’t I with them? Because a repeat drunk driver ran his car head-on into mine as I was on the way home from work one day, and I CAN’T go to the dairy with my family. No one thought his drunk driving was serious enough to stop, until after he injured me. I guess they thought the way that you did – no harm, no foul, right? Except we know for certain that drunk drivers are exponentially more likely to hurt or kill someone than sober drivers. This – not money – is why we seek to stop drunk driving BEFORE someone gets hurt.
        Driving drunk is inherently reckless. There is no such thing as safely driving while drunk.
        Are you suggesting that the dozen broken bones on the left side of my body, the possibly permanent nerve damage, the multiple surgeries (we’re up to 4 now), the sleepless nights, the pain, and my family’s loss of my companionship are a fair price for what you see as your freedom?
        I imagine it’s people who think like you that lead law enforcement and the justice system to leave guys like the driver who did this to me on the road. So thanks!

        1. Wow, I really feel for you and am sorry you were injured by a drunk driver. That is awful and I cannot imagine the pain you are going through now and for the rest of your life. I did not say that I have the “right” to drive drunk at all. The fact of the matter remains that it is unclear at what level of intoxication one becomes unable to drive. The actual legal numbers are designed mostly so that the government can make money off drunk drivers. Wouldn’t it be easier just to say it is illegal for people to drive with any alcohol in their system? Instead they make it .08% which is different for every person. This is so they can easily catch people and charge them a lot of money which makes a lot of money for the state. That is not to say that people should drive after drinking, but I would much prefer they make a law that says 0% BAC for driving instead of creating this level that is unclear so it’s supposedly ok to drive after a drink or two. I would be curious what the BAC of the person who injured you was. In our class we learned about most accidents caused by drunk drivers are of drivers over .15%. Those below that are no more likely to get in an accident than drivers who are under .08%. Again, I am not making excuses or arguing that anyone should drive drunk. Just that the .08% number is arbitrary and designed to create an income stream for the government. If the government really cared about protecting people from drunk drivers it would make the BAC allowed 0%.

        2. If the person that hit you had just been speeding and hit you head on but hadn’t had any alcohol, would you have been less injured? No. But if someone is pulled over for speeding, they get a ticket or a warning and go on with their lives. If someone is pulled over for DUI they get a whole lot more.

          Why is that do you suppose? Both people are choosing to put other people in “danger” for their own convenience, neither person has hurt anyone or anything when they are pulled over, yet one of them receives a ticket for a small fine and the other is carted off to jail and endures years of punishment. Why is that do you think? Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that everyone speeds even though it is incredibly dangerous and kills more people every year than people who have been drinking by a landslide?

          Hope your wife didn’t speed at all on the way to ice-cream, or look away from the road to deal with your kids, because she is taking everyone else’s lives in her hands by choice when she does that. And as you have said, we can’t have people like that on our roads!

          DUIs are bad, so is speeding, so is running a red light, so is running a stop sign, so is an illegal u-turn etc. All of those things can and do cause fatal accidents every single day. All of them are choices made by the drivers, yet only one of them carries any real penalty.

        3. Focus on your life man drunk drivers are not criminals and should not be scar for life. I got my first offense this year right before getting my master I mean I regret drinking and driving and I am thankful nobody got hurt because of my actions but my life is fuck so far am hoping not but these punishment could turn a regular peaceful law abiding citizen into a full flesh criminal . All
          Am saying the criminal record part is very unnecessary. Society have grown to be hated by a lot of dui regular citizen who are depress and give up on life seeking revenge I hope and pray they change this freaking law

      2. there are so many variables when talking about individuals and their drinking. I’m not proud of it, but i can drink a Lot and still get where i’m going just fine. Well, that was when there was more tolerance, i will not ever take the chance again. I’m trying to say that some people have an extraordinary tolerance for alcohol. If i wanted to, i could consume a lot more than the average person. It’s in the genes; lots of scottish and irish blood. I’m sorry, but this is the truth, like American Indians do NOT tolerate alcohol, there are other races who have extraordinary tolerance. But all people get painted with the same brush and this is not fair. I would like the law to consider that all people are different, duh. Instead of judging by some arbitrary number, .001 or whatever, judge the person on whether they seem lucid and alert or not because what would lay you out does not mean that that is the same for everyone

    5. To "Let's be honest" the judgmental commenter: The only thing someone can guarantee is death. Nothing else in this world is guaranteed.

    6. Have you looked into the number of people that kiilrd themselves due to a DUI. Not that they killed anyone, or caused any accident. They just could not deal with the relentless judgment, anger, disgust. Not to mentioned the dismantle of their lives. Maybe we should impose the death penalty, for some it is already been imposed. Oh well… Good redience. Too bad for their families… But they don’t matter either.

    7. Oh shut the fuck up you Al-anon MADD piece of shit, this girl was barely over and was driving fine, cop should’ve let her go or gave her a ride home, it’s assholes like you that allow cops to railroad people for bullshit and have their lives destroyed when nobody was even hurt, punish those who are driving badly or hurt people, not those that can actually handle it.

    8. Good Lord… The DWI laws are insane. Many people are arrested and charged with DWI and they were not even driving recklessly. I personally lost my husband to a drunk driver that was charged with intoxicated manslaughter. Guess what I still think the DWI laws are insane. I do not think prosecuting and ruining all these peoples lives and careers that were not even driving recklessly, did not injure anyone and were not involved in accidents helps anyone and it does not bring my husband back. We have severe and rightly so laws to cover injuries, death and accidents. We also have reckless driving laws. We really do not need extra DWI laws and MADD has just created a money machine when they got these insane laws passed.

    9. I have to say that I am ashamed of my decisions in the last 5 years. I didn’t start drinking until I was in my 30s. But when a 23 year marriage came to an end I started drinking socially. That means that I was on the road with alcohol in me. All my friends were too. I am an RN with a BSN. I have been trying to sort through my situation and figure how I can come out on the other side as a productive adult since our country is hell bent on ruining your life once you are convicted of a DUI. Since our society has created this vacuum for first offenders and repeat offenders treating them like criminals which is completely depressing since I have never had any other kind of trouble, instead am a really great person with alot to offer, but now am unable to put my God given attributes to work in the line of work I am licensed in. All this thinking and soul searching has led me to think about organizing a company ran with people who have DUIs. I would like to start a blog just for those that have had DUIs to see if we can start our own company. Anyone interested?

    10. Who is this guy? You really need to stop lecturing people. I caught 2 DUIs in 4 months for weed. Now you gonna lecture me about the dangers of Pot? All you suicidal people on here are pathetic, it’s a DUI and so what if your career is lost, get one you can obtain a job with a DUI. Look it’s not rocket science, think outside of the box and progress outside of the box. Oh and one other thing, I still smoke weed on a daily basis, I went through all of my secondary education classes smoked out, walk in class you could smell the weed smoke coming off me. Look alcohol is the worst, if u got pulled over for drinking and driving then u should have drove the other way, picked up a homeless chic and let her jerk you off on the way home while she gets warm in the car, then just go in ur house and leave her outside, the options are unlimited. Lol man half of y’all are some really brittle spirited people, chill out and do what you gotta do, as for crying and stressing over these issues we put ourselves in, you need to let go of that. A DUI is like an elephant, it’s big, it sucks and if u dont take a few steps back and look at the situation for what it is then you will always be smelling elephant booty. I just really think some of y’all are tripping over something that will be handled in due time. Thanks everyone

  2. Guy please get of this guilt trip and finish living your life. Its not that bad .. you have 1 dui and you still have your stable job, what more do you want? Also guy please be real 4 glasses of wine had you mess up?? An officer would have only suspected you of dui if you reek of alcohol , you said you was drinking from 9-12, 4 glasses of wine and you left the party at 9:30?? Why didn't you go home? Maybe because you was drinking some more? Why did some one call the police on your car?? The more your honest with your self the better you accept reality. Also don't get mad at other people because you went to court like a lame duck and automatically admitted guilt. You should have got a lawyer especially for your first dui. Don't be mad because you didn't research this stuff.

    Here is my reality

    I have 3 dui arrest with only 1 conviction . I was irresponsible and stupid.. to be honest I'm just bless to have the charge drop down to a first offense dui… I went to the recruiter station last month and ask if I would even qualify for the service. Once he saw my depositions he said I would but I would need the highest waiver available which only have a 3% rate of success. On top of that he said because of my charges they might not even attempt to process my paper work . The only thing I can do is blame myself this is my fault my cluster fu&& !!!! I will never join the military as I dream earlier in life . I don't blame no one I took away my rights when I decided to drink and drive.

    I had a job offer by the state but because of intensive dui background it was resended. I even had people that would have given me jobs good nice paying ones too but because I couldn't drop the bottle they pass me by. I currently work a minimal wage job and been stuck there for a while. This is where my life choices has me stuck.

    The only chance I have left in life is to wait 2 more years so I can have 2 of my dui expunge off my record so I may possible look for a decent job once I finish college, but even that is not a guarantee . In another my duo should slide off my driving record, but it will always stay on my criminal .

    So guy why you beating your chest and mad about yours there people in worst shape. I went to school with a guy who has a felony dui .. the military mess his head up so bad that he almost drunk himself to death.

  3. you will get another dui because the cops run everyones tags on the road when you come up as previous dui that gives them the impression you are still a no good drunk…. they will always fuck with you for the rest of your life…. most cops work a certain area everyday of their life… they know what cars come through a t what time…. if they know you have a previous offense…. they basically look at you as a numbers game… it is only a matter of time before they get you… that is what is fucked up about this country… my friend if i were you i would leave the fucking country immediately and start a new life… especially if you only have one offense misdemeanor. trust someone with experience.. you are treated like a murderer if you have a first dui for the rest of your life… you better know someone in a profession that you like cause if you try to get a professional job… it is going to be an uphill battle for at least the next ten years of your life… i know you said you are young but take it from me you will get tired of working scum bag jobs at one point and the politics of dui are so fuked up that is why you need to find something quick.

      1. If only it were that easy. I got my license back after my first DUI many years ago and, like you, decided that not driving was the smart choice. Just a few months later, I was out all day on New Years, going from parade to parties all day and night. I thought that not driving and staying at the friend who was driving’s house was enough. Well, we got back to his house that night and I walked around the corner to get my stuff out of my truck and head back. As I was grabbing my bag, a cop pulled up (as if he had been staking out the vehicle) and asked me where I was coming from and where I was going. Long story short… he lied, said he pulled me over for an expired inspection sticker that still had 10 more good valid months on it, arrested me for DUI and stole $100 from my wallet. I thought I had a slam dunk defense and payed way more than I would ever consider for a lawyer to guarantee it. Well, the charges stuck, my overpaid lawyer sent some kid I never met to plead me guilty and between him and the threats I received at the police station, I never filed charges against the cop. I wouldn’t be surprised if the percentages have increased to over 40 getting reconvicted as DUIs have become such great money makers for local and state gov and defending them has become almost impossible. Here in NJ, even if you have all the evidence against you thrown out, the cops word saying you were impaired coupled with anything over a .00 BAC is enough to convict.

        1. The dui laws have gotten out of control. Yes, they are primarily a huge money maker. Text messaging, cell phone use and other distractions while driving cause many more deaths than DUI. I agree that the bac limit should be .00 – drinking alcohol in any amount should be illegal. The punishments basically do ruin your life – job gone, ability to drive gone, tons of money that you probably don’t have – gone. Even if you work hard on your sobriety, get involved in AA, volunteer as a drug and alcohol counselor for AA – (like me) with 5 1/2 years of continuous sobriety and living an “AA Life” every day and make a mistake and pick up a drink and get a DUI – suicide becomes a daily thought as the punishment is probably not far off from what murderers and rapists get. Forget about ever getting a job again, forget about ever driving again, your financial life is destroyed. A good career lost alone can cost you millions of dollars. Make alcohol illegal in the US. It is a drug that causes much more damaged lives than all the other illegal drugs put together.

          1. While I agree that texting and driving should also be illegal (and it is in many states), a strong case IMHO can be made that DUI is more dangerous than texting and driving. The reason is that if someone is texting and driving, but they still keep their peripheral vision on the road, they can drop the cell phone and return 100% of their attention to the road instantly if they see something dangerous in their peripheral vision.

            Not so if someone is drunk. If someone is drunk there is no way to stop being drunk instantly–the only way is to wait many hours.

            You can stop texting instantly but you can’t stop being drunk instantly.

          2. I was driving home one night and got T-boned by someone that ran a red light while texting, and I was arrested for DUI.

        2. Although it shouldn’t necessarily have to be this way, I’m very sensitive to the fact that the courts usually defer to authority figures (eg cops) these days. Again–it shouldn’t necessarily be that way but I adjust my behavior based on how the world is, not how it should be. If I’m planning on drinking, I make sure I do absolutely nothing to tie myself to driving. I leave the car keys at home and I do not even physically touch or go near the car. Given the way of the world currently, I’m similarly cautious with any encounter with authority–also including Customs or the TSA at airports.

          I’m curious why you pleaded guilty if you thought you had a slam dunk defense. If you genuinely have a slam dunk defense you have to both be prepared to go to trial and only hire an attorney who is prepared to go to trial.

      2. Just real briefly, i can tell your very remorseful for your actions. I wish you well as i know its been an uphill climb n may be for a while….best of luck n just be a lil more mindful of your decisions in life ok

  4. I was young and foolish racked up a couple of duis five years apart .

    that last one was 30 years ago but it remains on my record, now with the terrorist idiots attacking the trade center causing me to now have a passport to visit America , ok I can understand that , no problem but recently some friends who know nothing of my convictions so many years ago wanted to go over to the states to shop and I had to make an excuse not to go because I was afraid I would be asked if I have a record and naturally I would have to tell them and be embarrassed and maybe refused entry so I made up a story why I couldn't go with them.

    Two days ago I get a letter with a questionnaire for jury duty so now I have to , as I did two other times have to call them and explain that I have a record and naturally am disqualified.

    But you know those things I mentioned though not really effecting me employment wise because I am retired but reminders of mistakes I made that are still effecting me to this day.

    Sure here in Canada I can apply for a pardon and 700 dollars lighter in the wallet and my record gets sealed but not destroyed so if I do anything else it comes back to life.

    But I figure maybe I should be reminded of my past mistakes to ensure I don't make any more.
    john recently posted..$1000 a month on a psychologist?

  5. Unfortunately we never get to live down even one conviction , regardless of what it was as in my case I got stopped and was over the limit and was convicted , now there was no injury to anyone else or property damage but it does not matter, I am now and will always be seen as a criminal even though that charge is now 25 years old and I've done nothing since .

    People do change their ways and in my case I simply stopped drinking alcohol from that time forward so I knew damn well I wouldn't be caught again.

    I was punished for what I did according to the laws at the time that I have to admit were a lot more lenient then they are to day but I have the lifetime punishment of a record that is not going away.

    I think that in some cases , depending what you did of course you should be cut a break and get an ancient charge cleared off.

    There are some people who screw up once , take their lumps and fly strait ever more but they don't care , they limp you in with all the reprobates that do crime for a living or those who don't give a crap about the laws of the land and so you get tossed in with them and seen as one of them.
    rob recently posted..$1000 a month on a psychologist?

  6. glad I came across this article…. I'm 50 years old and got my FIRST DUI this past Sat. nite… I blew a .09….. OMG… I feel horrible.. I feel depressed, i'm scared, i'm broke (now)…

    I'm divorced and live on my own. My son has moved out…

    My license was taken on the spot for 30 days… I'm bumming rides to and from work. Everyone at work and most friends have been very supportive.. my family, on the other hand, has NO problems judging me… I"ve had a VERY rough year.. My little beloved dog passed away unexpectedly in Jan… My father fell ill in Feb and had heart surgery….. 8 mos. later, he's home but not doing well. Mom is NOT wanting to take care of him… one thing after another.. My son moved out also.. not on good terms….

    so,… now a DUI?…. i was pulled for speeding… had not had a drink in hours.. dammit.. not drunk at all… but he smelled alchohol..

    saw my lawyer.. I have a clean driving record (until this past sat… !).. so i will get the lowest level of punishment.. Level 5…. but that still means i will lose my license for a year.. limited driving priledges… and my insurance will be out the ass….

    God, I don't even ask "what next?" I'm scared to.

    I thought I've been depressed before.?? Nothing compared to this…

  7. I am responding to your post because I am one of the 40% that is facing a second DUI. I can list the reasons, the hard and difficult life I have had over the past several years, the depression and loneliness, the feeling of being beat down. These are all true and have affected me. I used alcohol to self-medicate and be social, thinking it would make my life more manageable. In the end it didn't do anything but make me feel worse about myself. There are no excuses I have. It is my fault and my responsibility. This is a very dark time in my life and I often contemplate suicide. Those around me try to be supportive but its almost as if the stigma of a DUI is something that society deems appropriate for for you to just kill yourself- relieve the planet of your mistakes.

    1. Peter, I am sorry to hear this happened to you. I hope you can get help from a therapist who will help you deal with your depression which is causing you to make poor decisions. You will get through this time — I know people who have gotten a second DUI and it is not fun at all, but the important thing is that you learn from this and you get yourself the help you need. The programs you are required to go to are not enough. Please do get yourself help so you can be happy again.

  8. I've been reading this blog with some interest over the last few months because–like you–I got my first DUI a little while back and was very surprised to get one. Because my case is still pending in the courts, I am reluctant to reveal too many details–I will say only that I was arrested for DUI somewhere in California within the last six months. I'm a heavier drinker than you but typically I don't drive after drinking–an unusual situation (which I fully accept is 100% my responsibility) led to the night of my arrest being an exception. Fortunately I was not involved in an accident–hence no deaths, injuries, or property damage–but was merely pulled over after the police observed me driving erratically.

    Having acknowledged responsibility for my actions, let me also state that from a criminal perspective, one doesn't always know immediately whether one is guilty and one does IMHO have a right to one's day in court to try to prove innocence. If you rob a bank, assault someone, or embezzle funds from your employer, you pretty much know before the police even get involved that you are guilty. But one doesn't always know whether one's BAC is above or below the magical .08 line that makes it a crime. Like you, I knew I'd been drinking but was shocked that my BAC was as high as the police say it is.

    Aspects of the process do seem disturbing to me, though. Although I have not yet had my day in court, and despite the best efforts of my attorney, an administrative (non-criminal) suspension of my driver's license is about to go into effect. The police have not produced the evidence that was requested by my attorney, nor have they appeared at the DMV hearing. Despite the repeated failure of the police to show evidence, the DMV officer cannot wait any longer and will suspend my license. I have no objection to taking full responsibility for my actions once the proper evidence is presented and I am, myself, convinced of my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It's more disturbing that action can be taken against me even without proper evidence.

    My attorney has assured me that once the matter moves from the DMV hearings to the criminal courts, the police will be under much more pressure to produce the requested evidence. If that evidence points to my innocence, then he can also have the DMV suspension set aside. In the meantime though I'll be unable to drive or able to drive only with major restrictions.

    That said–it is quite likely that I will eventually be proven guilty, and when we get to that point I'll certainly accept full responsibility for my actions. That will include both working through the various aspects of my punishment and ensuring that I never drink and drive again.

    I'm responsible for my actions but whether I'm CRIMINALLY responsible is, as yet, unproven and I will continue to fight the charge until my attorney advises me that all the evidence is in and it points conclusively to my guilty.

    1. I agree with you that how DUIs are handled goes against our "innocent until proven guilty" ideal that we think is the case for all crimes in America. That said, I've thought about this quite a bit and I know that I should not have gotten behind the wheel after drinking, regardless of my level of intoxication. One drink may be ok but anything more than that means that one should prepare for other arrangements. I just wish I learned this lesson before getting a DUI.

  9. Man, you guys need a better understanding of the law and better representation! I was illegally arrested, refused the blood and still have my DL because it was set-aside. I was however, not pulled over. I had pulled over myself. But, I refused the search and got arrested. One of the officers even agreed with me it was not right. But, I also am not going to roll over. There are some many factors, that with o.08 to just plead guilty?
    I have an excellent very reasonable attorney! He CARES and wants to WORK the client case. He ordered films and has gone to all my hearings. I have paid no bail. I have no problem with police, Dad was a mayor or if I am wrong, I can handle a time. But I am right and THANK GOD have an attorney who will fight with me!

  10. I am facing a 3rd DWI. I have never hit or hurt The last two were a mile from my house. I can’t get a job. I have a Master’s Degree. I feel suicidal and hate my country for ruining my life. I can’t wait to see the payback. My back is against the wall.

    1. 3rd DUI, You have the problem!!!!! not the country!!! I don’t agree with the laws. but they have their points!!!! The government turns a profit from the sale of alcohol and prohibition should be reinstated. It is like your drug dealer shooting you for buying from them. how dare them!!! but get a clue 3rd DUI get a hint you have a problem greater than their hiporcisum!!!!

  11. I am 30 years old and I am glad I came across this blog. I typed in “How to rebuild your life after receiving your first DUI” into google search engine.Yes I know this is a full sentence but I needed some guidance. I scrolled down the page and came across this article. I know I messed up and the fall out of my poor decision making has been catastrophic.

    When I received my misdemeanor DUI, I lost my job as a social worker (July 2013). I think this is ironic because if I was a substance abuse counselor, I could have just added this experience to my resume (or not). I have no savings (social work pays peanuts) and I am having a really hard time seeking employment. It is now February of 2014.

    About two months ago someone contacted me from a non profit organization they were hiring for a reentry level Case Manger for felons. Apparently they came across my resume from a job board on the internet. The job is pretty self explanatory my job would be to help felons find jobs and check in on them. I didn’t get the job, but in the back of my mind I was thinking “WTF” if I was a felon I would have a resource that could help me find a job. Not to worry as tempting as it is at this point in my life, I decided committing a felony is a terrible idea.

    I have felt nothing but depression after losing my job apparently being a social worker I have gained no relevant job skills. Getting a BA in social work was a total waste of time and money (thanks to my poor decision). For a profession that is suppose to help people its a total scam. Yeah I understand I messed up its the first time I have been in trouble with the law. Do I really deserve to lose my job? I got my DUI when I was not on the clock it was a Saturday night. I was a top employee, I drink occasionally(few times a month at social gatherings/celebrations), and I am not an alcoholic.

    While attending my mandatory DUI class I met a girl who received a
    felony DUI. Before she received her DUI she was a paralegal. After she
    served time for her DUI she was able to get another job as a paralegal.
    Some jobs are effected by a DUI some are not. It drives me nuts that a
    DUI effects some careers and not others.President Bush JR drove while
    under the influence and hit a person who died.Everyone keeps telling me
    see you can go on to become president. Yeah well his family has money I
    have none and I cant even get a job at Taco Bell.

    I had a few drinks and was catching up with an old friend. Should I have driven home no. I accidentally went into the bus/former fast track lane on a bridge and that is why I was pulled over. One night forever changed my life I cheated myself out of everything I had ever worked for. My life is over. I can’t sleep at night I have applied to any and every job possible with no luck. If It wasn’t for my boyfriend right now I would be homeless. I should have listened to everyone and majored in business then I coud have joined my handful of friends with BA’s in business and DUI’s on their records (they still have their jobs).

    I have no money, I have lost hope, and I still have no idea how to rebuild my life. i cant afford to go to school and because I have a BA I do not qualify for financial aid. I can’t get a lone because I have to claim bankruptcy since I can’t pay my debts. I would never kill myself but if I died naturally or was ironically hit and killed by a dunk driver at less I would no longer be depressed, jobless, or in debt. I would finally be able to rest in peace.

    1. I really understand your plight!!!!
      The $1.5 MILLION Dollar Mistake

      April 2011 my grandmother passed away. She was 97 years old. She had a good life!!! She was very special to me! I loved her very much!!!!

      I am a single father of a wonderful son. I am unmarried and received full custody of him when he was 3 months old. I have a trade school diploma in building maintenance. He is now 17. I worked very hard to be a good role model for him. It cost me $125,000 in day care for his first five years of life for day care so that I could go to work as a refrigeration tec. for a local fish processioning plant.I worked 7 days a week that left very little time to spend with him. when he was 7 i got a job with the USCG as an HVAC/R tec. I made about $90 K a year. Nice!!!! 🙂 I worked hard and had time to be with my son at last!!!:-)!!! Life was good, I purchased a duplex and cut my living expenses down. Life was very good!!! I drank very little 3 or 4 times a year as I was on call 24/7 and had to respond to emergence’s to support the USCG search and resque. I had meaning in my life. Not only My Son but the safety of the fishermen off the coast of alaska. I felt my life had meaning and worth to the whole country!!! I was able to send my son to a private boarding school in AR. Life was Very Good!!!! Not bad for only having a trade school cirt.

      Back to the passing of my grandmother. I took leave to attend her funeral and assist my family. After packing up her house with my brothers and sisters and reminiscing. the next day was her funeral I was very upset. I went out that night by myself to a bar called Mug-Shots. How Ironic. I sat at the bar trying not to think about the events of the next day. I had one drink and played a game of pool as I had my second. I knew that I had a lot of things to do the next day. So i left to go home. As I left the bar I saw a cab sitting out front. Believing that the two drinks that I had had could not have put me over the leagle limit. I got in my rental car and proceeded to go to my parents house. Not five blocks down the road I changed lanes with out signalling. It was 11 pm and the roads were empty on a Wednesday night. RED and BLUE lights in my rear view mirror!!!!! I blew a 0.081. I did make it to my grandmother funeral. But only after calling my sister and having my brother in law picking me up at the jail the next morning.

      I lost my job, my insurance, and retirement. I no longer live in my house. My Son no longer attends school in AR. I can not get a job in the field that I have worked in for the last 26 years due to needing a clean driving record. I have no other employable skills. Now my only income is the 9k a year that I make off my duplex. and still have 2 more years befor i can reemploy my skill as an HVAC/R tec. By my calculations. Lost retirement, Lost wages, Lost Medical Coverage, Lawyer cost, Fines, Lost housing and lost time. I figure that the total loss was about 1.5 Million dollars. And this was a victim-less crime!!! Even greater loss is my son’s education and future and my community’s and country’s Loss of my services and dedication.

      About 1.5 year into my punishment I took a box knife to my wrists. Only with my fathers intervention am I writing in this blog.(Thank you DAD!!!) I still have two years to go of my punishment. I am 51 years old and don’t have much time to start over with my declining health. And I still cry myself to sleep every night!!!!

      On a better note. I have enrolled in college studying for a BAS degree in construction management. And am currently maintaining a 3.5 GPA. Hopefully in two more years My community and country will allow me to contribute again.

      DON’T GIVE UP!!! DON’T GIVE IN!!!!


      1. I just got my first DUI it has been very depressing to say the least. I am going to plead guilty on Friday and enter the diversion program. I will have to place an interlock device on my ignition which is comical to me since I don’t drink much at all but that does not matter the same rules apply to everyone. I am sorry the consequences have been so dire for you. The public shaming in the newspaper keeps me from leaving the house. How are things for you now ?

        1. i have worried about “publicity”, too.. My incident was 20 miles away….. are the facts of my arrest “broadcast” to other towns, other people ? this is all bad enough without my neighbors whispering and pointing. I feel like everyone knows but can’t tell if that is fact or fear. Please chime in if you know about this.

    2. I feel the same way. I still have the suppot of my family but feel useless. money is there for two yeas but what else. Getting serious heart pains hoping that will take care of it because suicide adds to the tragedy

  12. I have a close friend of mine that was involved in a drunk driving accident over 20 years ago and actually killed the other driver. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t think about this person and how much damage she did to both the victim’s family and her own.
    That being said, it’s been over 20 years since the accident and she hasn’t once ever driven drunk again. In fact, she decided that she never wanted to risk such a horrible thing ever happening again, so what did she do?
    Why she quit driving of course!
    Addiction and alcoholism is a very powerful force, and just realize that even if you don’t kill anyone, DUI’s will negatively affect your future.
    Hurts chances of getting a job, getting insured both auto and life insurance and could put you in jail. So if all of these negative consequences don’t prevent you from doing what is necessary to prevent a future DUI, do yourself a favor and buy yourself some life insurance now, you may just kill or self or you may get too many DUI’s to be able to qualify for it later on in life.
    Brian Clune recently posted..ING ReliaStar Life Insurance Reviews

  13. After October 9th, my entire life has changed. I was not only required to take roadside sobriety tests (after being pulled over on my own STREET, one bldg. away from where I live), I was approaching the cops on another call on my own (stupid move while in my car I get it), but to see what was going on NOW in my neighborhood, as sadly cops are a common sight on not just this street but in my entire neighborhood). I at first refused the breath test as I was aware that having had a few beers after work, it likely would come in over the limit. There were three officers present (I am a 116 lb. 5’6 female, very small framed), when I was asked why not, etc. I felt I had no choice so I took it. Shortly thereafter I was arrested and booked, etc. It was surreal the entire experience. I figured at worst, I would be sternly told to go home and stay there, period. The cops knew where I lived, I kept saying to the arresting officer that night “please don’t do this, please don’t do this.” He ignored me and now I am facing the loss of my license, heavy fines, dui classes and god knows what else. I cannot even pay my rent for this month we are in because of the fines and fees and fear I will lose my apartment (not to mention my job if word gets out to managers etc.). I was already suffering from major depression (four years in) before this, now I don’t see any reason to even fight it. I will be pleading guilty at my arraignment next week and god knows what happens after that. I already have lost my license for at least six to nine months. Please don’t tell me to “get a lawyer” who will pay for that? It’s laughable in a way that I dont quality for any legal representation from the state as a first offender yet someone who has two or three or more of these offenses is totally allowed and assigned to a legal representative. I am not, because I made a HUGE mistake one night, and now am at the mercy of this state and lose all of my rights (those are automatically given up with a guilty plea, yet a not guilty will mean a lengthy court case that I will lose anyway without an atty. and will have more severe penalties even having tried to fight this charge). It is so depressing, I feel like truly my life is already over.

  14. Don’t be too judgemental. I’m a hard worker, responsible human being, with a clean criminal record and perfect driving record. I rarely drink. And guess what? I got a DUI Yes, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

  15. Thank you for this post Joy, you have put a real personal touch on getting a DUI charge. Love to see the humility.

    A quick point to add: a driving record can affect whether or not a person can get a life insurance application. One DUI (in Canada anyways) will result in deferment of a life insurance application, while multiple DUIs usually results in an outright decline of coverage.

    Have a great day, thanks again for your honesty.
    Martin Eising recently posted..Driving Records and Life Insurance

  16. I’m thankful that you posted this. My boyfriend is going through his first DUI. He is bipolar and was sober for 3.5 years. He doesn’t know why he drank again, and he can’t promise anything. I believe it was the depression that took over. It’s frustrating because I can’t help him. He is full of self-loathing, negativity; he thinks he’s ruined his life, and he thinks he’s ruined mine. There’s nothing I can say to make him feel better, and our house is just filled with this negative energy. I wish that he can see the bigger picture, that his life is just beginning again. That in order to keep living, he has to be resourceful, inventive, innovative, and entrepreneurial. He has so much potential and this experience can open so many doors for him; if he can only look past the darkness.

  17. I got my first DUI in Oregon a month ago. I’m not sure why I chose to drive that night. I blew right at the limit. I could have asked for a blood test and the cop would have had to drive me an hour away to the hospital were I would have for sure passed. I just thought I could pass the breathalyzer. Anyway, to say my life has been a nightmare since that night is an under statement. I have never wanted something to go away so badly in my life before. I will be able to do the diversion program and not have a record but they have published my name in the small town paper along with my arrest. That info goes on google forever. So we all know it never goes away, diversion or not. the shame is so intense I want to kill myself some days. If I could only do that night over again. I would give anything. The regret is so intense and my self worth has vanished.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Sorry to hear about your problems. I find it interesting how many women get DUIs. Luckily I live in an area that makes arrest info confidential, so it takes a little work to find mine besides a simple google search of my very common name. It’s been 1.5 years since my arrest, and I’m not going to lie, I think about it everyday like it happened yesterday. This is weird to say, but I actually miss my DUI class, as I was with my drunk brethren. The only people who know about my issue is my therapist and one friend. One thing I learned in class is that the most average people in the world get DUIs. You put 100 people in a room, and pick 10 random folks, and that will be the demographic of your average first time DUI offender. I think a lot of people get them, but like the rest of us law abiding folks, we never talk about it. My DUI class instructor said that it will take 5-10 years before we realize that “half your agency have one” and you put it behind you.

  18. I am seriously freaking out. Its 2:33 am here in eastern canada and i cannot sleep. my baby will be up in a few hours and i cant get myself to get some rest. i feel like my life is over.

    i was charged on feb 18th. had no intentions of driving that night, was having wine at a womans house i dont really know that well. .i just needed a night out i stay at home all day with the baby and these canadian winters are harsh and isolating. she came on to me.. we are both married women!! ..and i freaked out and left in my car.i was drunk. it was dark and a country road and i was trying to get to my mother in laws who didnt live far and i took the ditch. my car is totalled even though it didnt look that bad, i was ok. no one was hurt.the police came and i just was honest with everything and blew 1.7. OMG…spent the night in jail crying my eyes out all i could think of was my little son at home. i feel awful. i still owed on my car loan, in fact i owed 8500 more than what the car was worth as i burried debt in the loan when i bought the car. i spent the first week unable to eat or barely move thinking insurance wasnt going to cover us and we would have NO car and still 22k owing. luckily because my husband was the main policy holder the insurance had to fork out 14k for the car so we bought new and burried the remaining 85k in the new car. that in itself sucks cause i only had 4 years left to pay and now i have 8.. whatever not the worst part. my insurance company told me if i am convicted they will come after me for half of the damages.. so i will owe them licence is currently suspended until may 18th (90 days) and i can get it back then .my court date is may 27th, im thinking i will request more time to seek counsel (which i can absolutely NOT afford) just to prolong it and get advice. theres no point because with an accident and 1.7 BAC im screwed. on top of all that my mat leave ends in june and i have to go back to job i hate.. i only got this job (for a bank) because i was laid off a week after finding out i was pregnant and needed something fast.. i work in human/ community serivces thats what i studied.. so the other day a friend who runs the family resource center sent me a job posting for a prenatal class facilitator she wanted me to apply for .. had a great chance of getting it… except i need a drivers licence and a clean crminial record… i fucked up my life. and the thing is i know it oculd have been worse, i could have killed myself of worse someone else. i NEVER DO THIS… it doesnt matter though does it? i made one mistake when i panicked i didnt think and i feel like my life is ruined. i ruined my sons life and my husands life.. we live on SUCH A TIGHT BUDGET as it is, we are so far in debt and no hope for the future and now this. 2 years ago this month i lost my first son during childbirth. the intense pain and grief i felt for so long was just recently starting to fade and now my life is filled with grief and anxiety again due to my own mistake. im not a bad person. im really not. :(:( i hope someone responds..

    1. Hi S. I’m sorry to hear you made a mistake and now your life will be seriously impacted. I highly recommend you look for a local counseling school and obtain sliding scale (hopefully free) counseling because you need someone to talk to about this and your life, and I understand you can’t afford to pay for this kind of help. I cannot provide advice other than the best thing you can do right now is fight through this and be strong. It sounds like you had some bad things happen to you before this (the getting laid off due to being pregnant, which, btw, is illegal here in the states – not sure about Canada.) I hope your husband is helpful and supports you. What is most important is to not fall deeper into the darkness right now. It’s so easy to turn to alcohol or worse at this time because it feels hopeless. It sucks, but it is not hopeless. You will likely have to pay the $7k on the car. You will be in debt longer. I say this because it’s important to accept what will happen, vs try to avoid it until it does. Start thinking about how to save more money, or take on a second job. You can get through this. I felt my DUI was the turning point in my life where I had to get my act together. I got through it and you can to, though it will indeed change your life.

      1. I can really relate to how you all feel after getting a dui. I got two last year in three months in fl. It has been a total nightmare since. I got a lawyer and I am not even sure if he did a good job. The state of fl is so hard on duis. I am from Delaware and just moved to fl. they took my license away for 5 years along with 6 years of interlock. Two years of probation. Just started a few weeks ago.

        I have to agree with the dui being on a criminal record is ridiculous.

        From reading other posts, it sounds like I have TOUGH road is ahead of me!

    2. You know what , all of you who are crying about your livesbecause you you made the mistake of driving under the influence is pitiful, unfortunately I am on the other side of this pissing and moaning about how your lives have been impacted session, my wife was kill bye a two time piece of shit , this making it three times , Now he wants to turn his life around while in prison, Give me a break, my wife is Dead! She will never experience anything that we all take for granted , my life and my families live have been shattered, I wake up every day and think about what happened , I walk around with nothing but hatred and anger , let me tell you if I ever have any kind of accident with someone under the influence again , they will pay dearly before the police arrive, I have not had a drink on over 30 years , my wife told me I was obnoxious when I drink, so I quick , if you get arrested for driving under the influence you deserve everything coming to you , be thankful you didn’t hurt or kill someone, your problems are nothing in the scheme of things, bunch of selfish whining self absorbed people,

      1. i DO feel terribe hearing about your loss. I can fully understand your hatred. Id also like other people to consider that in 40 G.D. years, i never made any mistake while driving. Anyone can make a bad move once in their lifetime. I did take sedating medicind, i did NOT hurt anyone or anything. I got sleepy and dented my fender on the side of the road. I instantly knew that i had to focus and fly right. I pulled into a parking spot and shut the car — waiting till i felt more alert. I DO feel that i made a good choice in stopping that car right away. also, being a first and only dwai and my having a long and good driving record, i really truly don’t feel that someone like myself should be lumped together and treated like a murderer. that’s all i’m sayin.

  19. My roommate comited sucide a week after he got his second dui within the five year mark. Ironically he use his car co2 to do it…he never told anyone or acted any different the week up to his death. It is sad when the law are so strict that in this case no one was hurt, that some people feel ending their life is less pain then dealing with 5 years of fines and hardships.

  20. I personally got my 2nd DUI because I had half a beer and drove to get some food before I drank any more. Got pulled over and blew a 0.03 which in my state is 0.05 UNDER the legal limit. However one thing that either was not explained to me or I forgot about or just didn’t pay attention to was that while on probation for 3 years after my first wet and reckless is anything over 0.01 is considered grounds for a second dui while also making your first offense a full dui instead of wet and reckless.

    The laws in this country in regards to dui (and many other topics) are make no mistake not designed to keep people safe or protect innocents. The laws are designed to make money. The things you don’t hear about DUIs are that police target areas with high population of illegal immigrants so that they may impound their cars and because they are illegal they never claim those cars which the police department then get to sell. In LA county alone statistics estimate the LAPD make approximately 3 million dollars a year just off that.

    Now take into effect the people who are also under the influence that pay the court 2-3 thousand dollars, the DUI program that is owned by the state another 1800-2 thousand, the lawyer fees if you got one 5 thousand on average, the interlock system they force you to install another 2 thousand sometimes more, the increase in insurance by generally 2x the amount you previously payed. Holy crap this is a money making machine.

    It is ridiculous that a misdemeanor carries with it a harsher penalty that a lot of felonies.

    We have MADD (mothers against drunk driving) to thank for this. This 35million dollar a year foundation that donates exactly 0 dollars to research on how to stop dui’s that has the political power to make the penalties so damn harsh for no other reason than to make money.

    In this day and age we have the technology to severely cut DUI deaths. We have steering wheels that can detect alcohol and kill your car. We have vehicles that can detect if your swerving and automatically pull your vehicle over to the side of the road. We have the ability to build competent public transportation that would lessen the need to drive to a bar and prevent the need to drive home. Why do we do none of these things? It is more profitable not to.

    Please spare me your diatribe on how dangerous it is to drive drunk when over 85% of the people who get DUIs are the people who 10 years ago would have been below the legal limit and have never caused an accident nor were involved in a accident under the influence. Speeding accounts for 32% of deaths in traffic accidents. Drunk driving accounts for 31%. So speeding is actually more dangerous. Are we now going to require every speeder to pay 10s of thousands in fines, jail time, freedoms taken away? Maybe someone can start a MASD mothers against speedy drivers and perhaps build it up into a 35 million dollar a year life ending industry just like MADD.

  21. Wow these comments literally just helped save my life. I received a DUI about 3 weeks ago and waiting to hear what my charges are. In that time I have fallen into deep depression even though I’ve literally done so much to prepare for this dui. I enrolled in extensive counseling took the state MAST test attend AA and pay for random drug and alcohol screening. What many of you on here need to know is that you have to FIGHT your way through this . I know it’s hard….I know you are broke and most importantly u don’t know where to turn or how to fight but you have to learn. I called top attorneys and learned real quick they will tell you a game plan they have in order for you to hire them. I caught on real quick…start writing down what they say and call around . I learned so much by this and was able to do the work on my own. Attorneys don’t do anything for you….they just know what you need to do and guide you. Get into treatment that many courts order. Call your community center’s and tell them you need help with program for dui charge. They don’t even hesitate to help bc it’s already all there for people charged . Then you can show the judge you care even if you don’t. It’s all a mind game. This is your life so you have to put away all the feelings of shame and guilt and focus on fighting for your record and for your future. We are not bad people (even tho I have heard in my area we have the meanest judge ever on duis). In fact I have dreams of walking into court and telling her to f off. Not bc I’m not sorry for what I did but bc she treats people like scum of the earth instead of rehabilitating them. If you say “I made a horrible mistake ” she gives you a harsher penalty bc she says there’s no such thing as a mistake drunk driving. Excuse me? I’m a registered nurse responsible citizen and yes I made a horrible mistake for driving while drinking. No one consciously chooses to end there life over a dui or hurting someone else . And as far as careers go….I am the one who has to worry for the rest of my life if I can practice nursing . Seriously ? Bc i have a good job I have to pay and perhaps have the best thing I ever worked my butt off for get taken away. Talk about depression. Wow. So ya for the judge who wants to lecture me….I hope the people behind these harsh outrageous laws get negativey thrown at them ten fold one day . Bc i have layed in bed thinking of ending my life many days now. Am I suicidal? Yes now I am bc i can’t imagine never being able to go to my job and help people . I worked 7 years on college to get where I am all to be taken away in one bad devision. BRUTAL. Last thing….for those of you who are giving up don’t. This will pass no matter how big it seems. Make sure to plead not guilty if you don’t have attorney….the reason for that is bc if you plead guilty there’s no chance of them lessening your charge . And begin to complete then programs your community offers. Get letters of completion and make friends with the councelor’s available. They’ve been through this with many people. You don’t have to be Court ordered to do those things . It may help your case immensely. Stay strong and look at this as if nothing can bring you down bc if we can all get thro these harsh laws fines and stigma instead of curling up and dying…..well imagine what we really can face!!!!! Much love to all. Your comments have helped me through tonite . We are truly good people who had some bad things happen over a bad decision. End of story .

    1. Thank you..i am currently going through this and feel suicidal as well this is on record for life..i hit a mailbox and totalled my car..i accept responsibility for my actions but was under extreme MDD and anxiety over marriage, & caregiving for my terminally ill Mom, and was stressed and made a very poor decision to drink that depressing day…now I have to pay forever..

    2. Matti,

      What ended up happening with your DUI/nursing license? Your commit encouraged me tonight, with my own experience. I’m a RN as well, and it has been causing me an extreme amount of anxiety. Haven’t gone to court yet, I will in a week and a half. I hired a lawyer, who I think will help. The issue now is that I have so much anxiety all the time, and developing depression. I was fine for the first two weeks, after the DUI charge, now the reality of it all is hitting me like a ton of bricks. Curious to hear your experience after everything was resolved.

    3. you are just about saving my life with your message and experiences. I drove fine and safely for 40 YEARS. The other day i took sedating drugs and i did feel very groggy. I was sleepy, i did run 3 feet off the road and dent my fender…… tree. Then i started to do the responsible thing…… i pulled into a parking spot, parked and shut the car. All i coulddo was take a nap and wait till i felt alert again. To me, this was a sound and safe choice. I did not hurt anyone. I was not hurt. The cops don’t care. They hauled me in from my parked car and proceeded to treta me like a murderer. They enjoy humiliating people and i think it’s disgusting. So, i’m thinking that i will attend a counseling center near me…. start to get ready for court. Being that i was never a “menace” in 40friggin years but for this one time, when i actually ha d stopped driving and did not harm anything except my fender….. yes, this is my first and only experience with this nightmare. I am hoping that i can overcome and feel i have a lot on my side. I was never Mirandized for one. Have long clean driving record…… maybe tiny stuff on it like yearsago i had a signal light out or some crap, but never anything like this.
      Can i feel some sort of hopefulness with my circumstances ? I’m scared. I like to think that it won’t go so bad for me with the facts being considered.

      1. If you were really on certain sedating drugs and nothing else I would talk to a lawyer. If you weren’t supposed to be driving when taking them, then you will probably still end up with a DUI but there’s a chance they can’t prove you were intoxicated. Did hey do a blood test? Also, DUI is not the end of life. It will be really upsetting for 1-3 years, the worst is the first year. A lawyer is not a bad idea in your case, but talk to a few.

  22. Man fuck MADD those bitches are making it impossible to drive while I smoke weed. Go after the fucking drunks on here, dont fuck with the weed smokers. Man fuck the POLICE

  23. I actually think it’s very possible that you get another DUI sadly. And here’s the reason why. Because you know you were not in the wrong the first time. Being in those types of classes , you find out how fucked up they were and you think you weren’t so bad. Then you start thinking that it was unfair. Yes, it was unfair to you. Reaally the only way for you (or anyone else) not to drink and drive is getting into an accident. That’s the ultimate wake up call. You’ll never do it again after that. Trust me , i’m speaking from experience.

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