No matter what time of day or night or season of the year, when you land in the slammer it’s a cold and unforgiving place. This is the stuff of nightmares come true. And you did it to yourself. But is the experience of being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or drugs enough to shake you awake? Do you even know what the consequences are? Do you even care?
The answers to these questions are critical. Until you fully accept and comprehend the consequences for your actions and make a firm commitment to change your drinking and drug-taking behavior, you will remain in a state of denial.
What Happens: The Law
Without getting into too many technical details, since laws vary by state for blood alcohol content (BAC) and chemical, blood or urine tests, the simple fact is that once you are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, DUI, combination of drugs and alcohol, they will take your license. In the state of California, by law, an arrest report, along with a copy of your suspended or revoked license, along with the sworn report is forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The DMV conducts an administrative review to consider all the evidence, reports and results of any tests. If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the review, you have 10 days from the receipt of the revocation or suspension order to request a hearing.
At the end of your driver’s license suspension or revocation, providing you pay the appropriate reissue fee and provide proof of financial responsibility to the DMV, your license will be returned to you.
If, however, you are convicted in a court case, you face additional penalties which may include jail time, fines and/or other court-imposed criminal penalties.
Bottom line, if you are arrested and convicted of DUI, felony drunk driving, driving while impaired (DWI), or felony manslaughter, you are in a world of hurt from which it will take thousands of dollars in legal fees, court costs and fines, not to mention court-required therapy and/or counseling. Your life will be changed with or without your acceptance of what’s happened. Consider an arrest the first brusque slap to the face and start taking responsibility for your actions.
What Happens: Your Friends and Family
Drunk driving is like the elephant in the room, especially when it comes to friends and family. Everyone knows who the drunk driver (or drug-using driver) is, but they don’t want to talk about it. They feel shame and may shun the individual no matter who it is. It can be your father or mother, your brother, sister, grandparent, nephew, niece, grandchild — it may even be you.
You are frequently left out of get-togethers of friends and family. They simply don’t call, or avoid you at all costs.
Often the family clamps down, especially on teenagers, with hard and fast rules you are obligated to follow. Your privileges are taken away. Every second of your day has to be accounted for. Angry tirades and explosive outbursts make living in the situation intolerable for all concerned. You may even run away, leave home, desert your family, or live on the streets. In short, you have become a pariah. No one wants to be around you anymore. You can’t be trusted. You cause trouble and pain. You may even be disowned.
The good news about family and true friends is that if you make a firm resolve to turn your life around, they will be there for you. They love you and want the best for you. That’s a bonus that should inspire you to change your ways.
What Happens: Your Job
Employers won’t tolerate any employee that shows up drunk or under the influence of drugs. It’s not safe, either for the individual or other employees and the general public who may interact with the individual. You may have an employer that will give you a second chance, providing you seek counseling, go into rehab, or give up alcohol and/or drugs entirely. But not every employer is like that.
Most likely, you will jeopardize your job to the extent that you are fired, asked to leave or resign. If you do manage to keep your job, you will be passed over for promotions. Your recommendations and ideas won’t hold any merit (since everyone knows they’re coming from a known alcoholic or drug user).
Any social functions involving your job will be off limits to you. Or, you may be asked to leave a function due to your loud, boorish and antagonistic behavior.
Once you are out of a job, you’re pretty much destined to live hand to mouth unless you wake up and decide to do something about the mess you’ve gotten yourself into. You might eventually get your old job back, or you may need to start anew somewhere else. The latter is probably better. You need a new outlook, a new chance to show you can do it without resorting to your fallback ways of drinking and doing drugs.
What Happens: Your Future
This is entirely up to you. For some individuals, it takes repeated arrests for DUI and/or drugs to make a serious dent in their consciousness. For others, a single DUI arrest is enough to do the trick. There are serious consequences, including emotional, physical, social, familial and financial consequences, to every arrest.
Can you accept that this is all your own doing? Do you have the courage to do what it takes to again be a clean and sober individual capable of taking responsibility for your actions and your life? Do you want to live free with your head held high again?
If the answer is yes, then you have reached the point of waking up. Your life and your future is in your hands. Act on your commitment and embrace your future.