Five years ago, I was out at an Irish pub with some friends and I knew I had somewhere to be in the morning so I left a little early that night. About a mile after I left the bar, I knew I shouldn’t have been driving, but that didn’t stop me. I was driving on Route 70 through Cherry Hill, New Jersey when I saw the lights of a police car signaling me to pull over. I knew I was over the legal limit to drive and when he asked me to step out of the car, I had no doubt I was going to be arrested for DWI.
I went through the basic tests, the abc’s, walking the line and probably one other that I can’t remember. I didn’t lie to the officers and I gave them no problems. Within minutes I was in handcuffs and in the backseat of the patrol car being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.
Officially my blood alcohol content was somewhere between .08 and .10 depending on the different times I blew into the breathalyzer so my sentence ended up being 90 days loss of license. This was however after 4 court appearances and about $2500 in lawyer fees and another $500 in court costs. Three months doesn’t seem like a long time and honestly it’s not , but being without a license is the easiest part of a DWI.
Today it is almost 5 years later and I still pay a very high insurance premium, probably about $1200 more a year than I would without the conviction. Also, I paid $3000 in fines over three years for the offense itself, not counting the insurance.
Twice I’ve interviewed for jobs and not gotten them because I had a 90-day DWI, even though I paid my fines and did my time as they say. It is by far the most embarrassing thing one has to write down on a job application, interview, mortgage application, lease application, car rental paperwork or any background check. It doesn’t go away nearly as easily as one might think.
Thankfully, I feel like I learned my lesson because today if I drink when I’m out, I simply do not drive. That’s it, I just don’t drive. I’m not going to tell you I get a taxi, make plans for a designated driver or anything like that. But what I do know is this, I do not drive, period.
-Keith, Toms River, NJ
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