Preventing a DWI/DUI
By Denise O’Doherty, psychotherapist and drug and alcohol counselor.
Most people think that they can drink and drive as long as they are not drunk. Many of us have driven home after having one or two drinks (or more), and have not thought much about it. We are all aware that the legal blood alcohol level is .08. This means that anything over .08 means one is legally “drunk” and, if pulled over, would be given a DWI. To some, this means that if you get pulled over, and are asked to take a breathylyzer test and you are under .08, you would be OK and not arrested. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
If you have been drinking and score UNDER .08, you can still be arrested for “DUI” (drinking under the influence) and will be taken to jail. Even though “DUI” is “less” of a charge than “DWI”, you will still get arrested, go to jail, get your license taken away, have to get an attorney and have to appear in court later. That means that legally, we can’t drink and drive at all. Often these charges get “dismissed” the next day but even when they are, you still need to get an attorney and go through all the same financial burdens that you would if you get a DWI. The average amount spent on a DUI or DWI for a first offense, is, on average, about $8000.00. Again, this is even if the DUI is dismissed. Arrests are based on the fact that Texas is a “no tolerant” state. That means no drinking and driving at all.
A high percentage of DWI’s and DUI’s are given between 10:30pm and 2:30am, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. People are initially pulled over for things like not using their signal when changing lanes, rolling through a stop sign, going through a yellow light, swerving while driving, driving with your lights off or making a turn from the wrong lane. Because alcohol is served at a great deal of social events in the evening, the police often find that many people who are pulled over for the above, have also been drinking. Therefore, it would be wise to drive carefully to avoid bringing unwanted attention to your driving.
I am writing this to give you awareness to a costly problem that can easily be prevented by not drinking and driving. The average cost includes bail, probation costs, attorney’s fees, car insurance fees, drug and alcohol assessment fees and random drug testing. There are better things we can do with our money and time. So, please share this information with a friend and consider a designated driver or taxi when going out and drinking. The cost and inconvenience of a taxi or designated driver is far less than the cost and inconvenience of an arrest. Enjoy your partying by taking steps to prevent a DWI!